The last few days we have been hit with an intensified barrage of alternative reality from Trump’s tweets and press interviews and his online supporters over “Obamagate”, “Deep State” conspiracies and more bizarre assertions in relation to the covid-19 pandemic and the federal government’s response. How can any one person possibly keep up with untangling the webs and layers of lies and distortions?
One article that I had the fortune to stumble across this morning does truly make sense of what is happening. It is a sobering read. I once posted here on the way religious cults have been said to practice “logicide” (the killing of everyday meanings of words) to create alternative realities for members (e.g. teaching different meanings for common words, especially the word “love”). What is happening in the wider national discourses is far more complex, insidious and all-pervasive.
The article is The Weaponization of Language: Discourses of Rising Right-Wing Authoritarianism by a Professor of Sociology, Celine-Marie Pascale.
I’ll post some snippets. Bolded highlighting is my own and reflects my own particular interest; layout and formatting are also my own.
To do justice to the issues I will spread this outline over several posts. See the full article for sources of the many facts cited.
First, the problem —
The world is facing a violent intensification of the scope and reach of authoritarian politics at one of the most precarious times in global history. Public figures openly deride expertise, exalt opinion as fact, and favor brute force. We are witnessing government campaigns to undermine any version of reality that does not align with their agendas.
. . .
Far-right authoritarian movements are produced through weaponized language that demeans, demoralizes, and confuses.
. . .
While there is more continuity in these times than one might like to admit, we must also acknowledge that this historical moment is different in two very important ways.
Continue reading “Propaganda in Overdrive: The Weaponization of Language (Part 1)”