Last year, BB pal Bonnie Powell conducted a staggering interview with cognitive linguist and cultural commentator George Lakoff about why the Democrats need a lesson in language. In these days just before the Republican National Convention, Bonnie sat down again with Lakoff to discuss his forthcoming book, Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, and why it's important to think before you speak:
You've said that progressives should never use the phrase "war on terror" — why?
There are two reasons for that. Let's start with "terror." Terror is a general state, and it's internal to a person. Terror is not the person we're fighting, the "terrorist." The word terror activates your fear, and fear activates the strict father model, which is what conservatives want. The "war on terror" is not about stopping you from being afraid, it's about making you afraid.