4.0914 Responses: More On Lakoff (2/43)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Sun, 20 Jan 91 17:15:23 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0914. Sunday, 20 Jan 1991.

(1) Date: Fri, 18 Jan 91 14:21:27 EST (7 lines)
From: Boyd Davis <FEN00BHD@UNCCVM>
Subject: Re: 4.0905 On Humanist: Lakoff Posting

(2) Date: Fri, 18 Jan 91 10:40 PST (36 lines)
Subject: Re: 4.0906 War

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 91 14:21:27 EST
From: Boyd Davis <FEN00BHD@UNCCVM>
Subject: Re: 4.0905 On Humanist: Lakoff Posting (3/35)

Lakoff's discussion is humanistic and provocative; it deserves our
attention. Like Natalie, I received the full text via another list, or
I would have asked for it from Humanist.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------378---
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 91 10:40 PST
Subject: Re: 4.0906 War (6/223)

It is by now somewhat belated to offer a comment on Lakoff's essay; but
I had written the first paragraph when someone telephoned me and hung
my machine up the other day. For all those who admired his essay on
rhetoric, I would say that we used to teach Orwell's piece, "Politics &
the English Language," in Freshman Comp more than 30 years ago, we being
the staff in a fine small liberal arts co llege in New York
State...Pound's college, in fact, and Elihu Root's birthplace . Well
that was Freshman Comp, and post-Korea. It worked well, and alerted
students to the rhetoric of propaganda, commercial, political, religious,
the cliches that govern a lot of uncritical thought. And Lakoff's
essay, mostly not in any way an advance over Orwell's pointers, is for
freshman too. But I am disappointed to hear a Professor saying, or
read him writing, at such a low level, one bordering on the asinine and
banal, full of its own foregone conclusions, which are pseudo-pacifist
at best. The thing that irks me most about the essay, apart from its
pompousness, and sententiousness, is its having been written without a
single thought given to the length of history behind the current events,
the ground of these events, which is perhaps about 1500 years in
extent! A linguist should know that culture is carried in more than
words, and that words are the expressions of living persons who have
histories behind them, and those histories are full of conflict and
passion and war. The Mongols in the early 13th Century handled the
Euphrates Valley, and Baghdad rather roughly, for those people did not
listen to reason, did not submit to reality. Saddam is perhaps of that
ilk, a tinhorn version of the glorious caliphate culture, armed by a
culture of technology that is far beyond his means of comprehension, as
a village illiterate and thug, whose favorite book seems to be MEIN
KAMPF. History is here, and not words splashed about by journalistic
propagandists, the words Lakoff tediously reviews for us, folks who are
trained to recognize cliches. I was not annoyed by his piece; but once
again astounded to see what passes for analytic profundity in the
Academy, in a place like Berkeley, yet! Dear dear. Kessler at UCLA