Thursday, September 09, 2004

Dissent Channel Book Recommendation: Don't Think of an Elephant!

Have you ever thrown something at the TV when the words "tax relief" escaped w.'s lips? Does the term "partial birth abortion" turn you murderous with rage? What does "freedom" mean? How does it compare with the Founding Fathers' vision of "liberty"? And what in the dangfarbled heck is the "death tax"?? Well, read on!

Friends, this is a book I cannot wait to purchase or borrow or steal. George Lakoff is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Professor of Cognitive Science and Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a founding senior fellow at the Rockridge Institute. Professor Lakoff would like it if we got off our linguistic duffs and paid closer attention to how issues are framed by the Right (see any FOX "News" TV poll for how conservative issues are framed; e.g. Does the US need a UN babysitter? Yes or No. Aaargh!) and how progressives can reclaim our rightful (leftful?) place as representatives of the national ethos, and, more importantly, influence national policy for the greater good. Remember that quaint concept? Lakoff's latest book, Don't Think of an Elephant! Know Your Values and Frame the Debate, was released yesterday to a hiccup, no doubt, because any more would require that the mainstream press actually employ what we in the regular world think of as "elbow grease," not to mention intellectual honesty and a little known commodity in those parts: humility. Not bloody likely. But never worry. Your friends at Dissent Channel are looking out for you.

You can find an excerpt from the first chapter here.

From the publisher's overview of the book:

Don’t Think of An Elephant! is the antidote to the last forty years of conservative strategizing and the right wing’s stranglehold on political dialogue in the United States.

Author George Lakoff explains how conservatives think, and how to counter their arguments. He outlines in detail the traditional American values that progressives hold, but are often unable to articulate. Lakoff also breaks down the ways in which conservatives have framed the issues, and provides examples of how progressives can reframe the debate.

Let's get reading--and reframing--I say! Next one to say "partial birth abortion" gets a smack upside the head.