Thursday, September 3, 2009

Frankly, they honestly mean the opposite

How about a new word, "hypedar," to describe being able to tell when someone's trying to pull a fast one on you, using propaganda, know the drill.

For example, take "honestly" and "frankly." In normal conversation these words mean you're going to follow them by saying something that differs from or even contradicts your position on something--politics, your dignity...some sort of reversal.

But when politicians say "honestly" or "frankly," 99% of the time they follow up with a statement that's anything but honest or frank. It's almost always a direct attack on the other side.

They're entitled to attack the other side, of course. But in putting these words in front of an attack--it's bogus. They're pretending to hand you a personal--perhaps embarrassing--revelation. Not an embarrasing revelation about the other side.

Republicans and Democrats both do this, and they do it all the time.

And the next time you hear these words, see if I'm not right about what always follows.

And then you can show off your hypedar to your friends.

I only have one request: Don't spare your side. We want honest political debate, not tribal warfare.

Don't we?


Hypedar lesson #2:

"In fact," "in reality," "the truth is."

These aren't the sure signs of hype that "honestly" and "frankly" are. Sometimes a politician will follow up with an actual fact. But it's equally likely that they'll then make an assertion that they don't substantiate. This means what they've actually done is ask you to trust them, without saying so. When you say "in fact," state a supposed fact, and don't back it up--the only reason you have to believe them is their word, which they're implying is worth something.

Now I'm sure there are honest politicians out there. I've even seen a few that I thought were pretty honest--on both sides, too. That's why I'm saying that these catchprases aren't always hype.

Just most of the time.

Note that providing substantiation isn't good enough--the substantiation has to be an impartial authority.

Bogus authorities include, for the left, advocacy groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center and La Raza. For the right, it's supposed think tanks that are actually advocacy groups, and polling organizations that are actually owned by someone with an axe to grind.


Hypedar lesson #3

"media bias" --Yes, there is media bias. However, far too often "media bias" means "someone who disagrees with me." The far right think the mainstream media is in the tank for the Democratic Party, and take as proof the fact that most reporters vote Democrat.

Amusingly enough, the far left think the mainstream media faithfully serves the interests of the multinational corporations who own the mainstream media.

Both sides are often totally unaware of what the other thinks about the mainstream media, because they never read or listen to or watch any source of information that differs from their own ideology.

And both sides generally lack the intellectual tools required to objectively assess the objectivity of a news source.


Hypedar lesson #4:

"The American people" --actually, this almost always means "whatever % of Americans agree with me; anyone who doesn't isn't really American, so they don't count." This is a version of flagwaving--trying to associate your side with America in the most tribal way possible. Because if they can make your allegiance tribal, you'll forgive all the nasty stuff they do to you, because otherwise you'd be supporting the other tribe.

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