Thursday, August 04, 2005


I'm gone a day, and make the mistake of turning on cable news. My goodness, squawking heads telling me what to be afraid of and angry about now.

Why, it seem like only Tuesday that the new National Intelligence Estimate said Iran won't be able to make nuclear weapons for another ten years. But come Wednesday afternoon, there's a fifty something "analyst" talking to what's-her-babe on how we're heading for a nuclear showdown" with Iran. He said it at least twice.

Then more Marines got killed, and this new retired colonel guy's telling some other cable babe "We need more troops but we don't have any more troops so there isn't a military situation so we have to stay the course and show our resolve and then have the Iraqi's take care of the insurgency themselves. Oh, my check will clear, won't it?"

Then driving home this morning I hear Bin Laden's number two guy released a tape where he says the London bombings are Tony Blair's fault, and boy I just can't wait to see the reaction that gets from the rabid right blogosphere.

Whoever's in charge of making us afraid of the Chinese must have had the day off, because I didn't read or hear anything about them yesterday.

I see in this morning's New York Times is back to saying "war on terror." I guess he didn't like the sound of being a "struggle time president."


The US Marine Corps, so battered lately in Iraq, has made a bold move to improve morale and discipline--new uniform regulations!

"[One] change gives female Marines the choice of wearing diamond-studded earrings with their evening dress uniforms. Before this change they were only allowed to wear pearl earrings. Also, Marines will no longer be required to wear their covers while in privately owned vehicles. One other change concerns civilian attire. While on a military installation, all headgear, including civilian headgear, will be removed while indoors."

That'll take those pesky insurgents down a peg.


Tarantula Lady over at Chelicera gives a nice overview of two Rovewellian propaganda techniques, straw man argument and ad hominem tu quoque. I've always encouraged understanding of rhetorical manipulation techniques--not so you can use them others, but so you can tell when others are using them on you. The main thing, as TL points out, is to see the logical fallacies in bad, emotion evoking arguments.

Most of the time, symbol and language manipulation targets pre-existing emotional conditions, mainly anger and fear. In pop culture, we normally hear this sort of thing referred to as "button pushing," a phrase that grew out of General Semantics concepts like semantic reactions and signal reactions.

More material of General Semantics is available at the General Semantics Institute site .


  1. Jeff,
    Thanks for the link.


  2. Hope you find it of use. I studied GS in college, still find it a very useful discipline.