Not thinking of an elephant

I’ve just started — and about halfway through; it isn’t long — George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. Get two, read one twice and give the other to a friend.

Listening to some people, Lakoff’s presentation at General Assembly would have made attending worthwhile, but $10 for the book seems an extraordinary value.

I should note that one of my lifespan missions is to help habilitate a vital and comprehensive Christianity for the United States. The dominant authoritarian and diluted versions are neither appealing nor, I think, faithful. This gets back to Lakoff’s drumbeat about framing.

The issue of framing a la Lakoff helps me understand what the UUA’s up to, and ultimately how futile the frame of “we’re too political” and “we’re not political enough” is. But I know talk about values is going to unsettle some people, but that’s probably a necessary tonic.

Lakoff has given me a word — hypocognition — to descibed the want of ideas to descibe a situation. No words, no frames, no solutions. I think that’s why we’ve become so sectarian: we can push each other around, after having despaired of being any influence or use in the larger world.

Lastly, I want some energy and words and ideas to share with other liberals because I hate the sons of bitches that think that Hubby and I some kind of anomaly, free to be trifled with, and that our nation is the playground for tinpot dictators and robber barons. I’m ready to fight, and this slog will take decades. Just so you know where I’m coming from.

Now you may comment.

One Reply to “Not thinking of an elephant”

  1. Being a firm believer in Lakoff’s concept of framing, I’m slogging through his Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think. I understand that is a condensed version.

    In this article, Lakoff gives several examples of framing, and emphasizes who complex it is to frame your message over time. On taxes being framed as an issue of patriotism:

    t is an issue of patriotism! Are you paying your dues, or are you trying to get something for free at the expense of your country? It’s about being a member. People pay a membership fee to join a country club, for which they get to use the swimming pool and the golf course. But they didn’t pay for them in their membership. They were built and paid for by other people and by this collectivity. It’s the same thing with our country — the country as country club, being a member of a remarkable nation. But what would it take to make the discussion about that? Every Democratic senator and all of their aides and every candidate would have to learn how to talk about it that way. There would have to be a manual. Republicans have one. They have a guy named Frank Luntz, who puts out a 500-page manual every year that goes issue by issue on what the logic of the position is from the Republican side, what the other guys’ logic is, how to attack it, and what language to use.

    We need to this very carefully about every word and phrase we use, and develop a consistant language.

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