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AC_Mem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 10:53 PM
Original message
The Essential Guide for Progressives
It's getting harder and harder to find books written by democrats, liberals or progressives. The bookstore I love just reeks with the GOP hate books; I'm constantly grabbing a Dreams of my Father, an Al Franken book - whatever liberal books I can find and putting them in front of the GOP nonsense (hahaha!) Anyway, this excellent book is called "Don't Think of an Elephant" by George Lakoff. I found this interesting...

"Back in the 1950's conservatives hated each other. The financial conservatives hated the social conservatives. The libertarians did not get along with the social conservatives or the religious conservatives. Andy many social conservatives were not religious. A group of conservative leaders got together around William F. Buckley Jr. and others and started asking what the different groups of conservatives had in common and; whether they could agree to disagree in order to promote a general conservative cause. They started magazines and think tanks, and invested billions of dollars. The first thing they did, their first victory, was getting Barry Goldwater nominated in 1964. He lost, but when he lost they went back to the drawing board and put more money into organizing...."

It goes on, educating and enlightening. This book shows how this GOP group brought their different perspectives together and found their message. And even though their message goes against just about every thing that is good for humanity and the planet, they are able to convince people to vote against their best interest to fund the greed of the rich!

This book talks about the different types of democrats (he states six different types), who I am seeing more and more of on DU and what he says about that...

The six types: Socioeconomic progressives, Identity politics progressives, Environmentalists, Civil liberties progressives, Spiritual progressives, Anti authoritarian progressives

Lakoff says "All six types are examples of nurturant parent morality. The problem is that many of the people who have one of these modes of thought do not recognize that theirs is just one special case of something more general, and do not see the unity in all the types of progressives. They often think that theres is the only way to be a true progressive. That is sad. It keeps people who share progressive values from coming together. We have to get past that harmful idea. The other side did."....

The book helps us to learn how to frame our conversation and how to counter the repeated chatter of the right.

I think it is must have reading for all Progressives, Democrats, and Liberals. I found my copy at and highly recommend the book. As a matter of fact, I wish we could run a thread where we could just work through the book with people here that are interested in sharing their ideas as he teaches so as to bring our ideals into a more solid, cohesive unit.

Would anyone be interested in having a discussion group about the teachings of this book? If so, please PM me and maybe we can make this happen!

Shine on,
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ThatPoetGuy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 01:31 AM
Response to Original message
1. K&R. nt
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LooseWilly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 01:48 AM
Response to Original message
2. You've distilled no theme/point from the book... it sounds like "Chicken Soup for Dummies" crap
and if you accuse me of being the result of "nurturant parent morality" I'm going to engage in the internet-equivalency of punching you in the face. :+

My parents were neither nurturing nor moral. Your exposition of the book's theories are thus disproven, and you should now go and try to get your money back.

If you want ideas that will "bring ideals into a more solid, cohesive unit" try reading Marx. At least he doesn't reek of self-help neo-spiritualist bullshit.

In the mean-time... you might want to re-think quotes about how wonderful our parents were in order to lull members into your neo-spiritual/liberal version of a bible study group...
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ThatPoetGuy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 02:58 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Does someone need a hug?
It's two am right now where I am, and I'm about to go to sleep. So I don't have time to study the OP and see if he or she did or didn't successfully summarize Lakoff's book. It's in no way a fuzzybunny collection of Newage aphorisms (pronouncing "Newage" to rhyme with "sewage").

Lakoff is one of the most brilliant linguists of our time, and one of the book's foci is on the framing strategies used in electoral politics. Online you can find his article about the media framing of the Schwarzenegger/Gray Davis election, which carefully analyzes the consciously constructed media narratives in terms of authority, agency, power, and gender -- and interrogates why some strategies were more effective than others.

It's a challenging, provocative, intelligent book, only slightly more touchy-feely than Chomsky, and it aims to provide a rational series of suggestions by which progressives could make their ideals common knowledge.

Good night to you, Sunshine, and (((HUGS!)))
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LooseWilly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 03:50 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. unasked for hugs are a form of sexual harassment...
Brilliant linguist without links to support it?... I'm not convinced.

"one of the book's foci is on the framing strategies used in electoral politics" ... that's not linguistics, that's marketing... just FYI

"Online you can find his article about the media framing of the Schwarzenegger/Gray Davis election, which carefully analyzes the consciously constructed media narratives in terms of authority, agency, power, and gender" ... uhh, gender?... Is he trying to argue (in an un-linked article that I'm supposed to take your Huggy word as to the content of) that the SNL "Girly-Man" references were a part of the recall election? (Or is it Larry Flynt's participation in the same recall election run-off that sparked the "gender" issues?... Gary Coleman?...)

"interrogates why some strategies were more effective than others." interrogates? Like with waterboarding and whatnot?... Are you translating from another language which would actually use a cognate of "interrogates" in this context?... because Spanish wouldn't... which makes me curious which language you might be translating from... a question I actually find much more compelling than the potential theories that the "brilliant linguist" in question is likely to present...

And no... there was no study of the book or distillation of its points to draw anyone in... just a spot of name dropping and a call for "homey" discussion... as if we all should give a shit about this dude's opinions without any need of convincing... kind of like your assertion of "brilliant linguist"... a set of behaviors which make me think the two of you are jointly pushing some sort of new age cult thought-paradigm bullshit which makes me liable to really become abusive in my rhetoric if you keep up the bullshit "Huggie" diaper-flavored tone... :)
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ThatPoetGuy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 07:05 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I don't know what would qualify him as a brilliant linguist in your eyes, but I'll try....
Lakoff was one of the founders of the field of cognitive linguistics. He's been linguistics professor at Berkeley for 39 years. Two of his not-overtly-political books, _Metaphors We Live By_ and _Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: What Categories Reveal About the Mind_, are among the most frequently studied books on linguistics. I have no data in front of me, but having been assigned both books in both undergrad and graduate studies, at two very different universities, I'd guess general linguistics surveys are the most frequently assigned linguistics reading, followed by Chomsky, Lakoff, and Saussure, in that order. Google Scholar shows that at least 16,891 different papers published in academic journals have cited _Metaphors We Live By_. That is an extraordinary number for a field as relatively small as linguistics.

Not convinced by externals, because you'd need to see proof for yourself of his brilliant analyses of language, thought, and communication? Get over it. You respect Marx's thought, but in the course of five or six paragraphs you'd never be able to do justice to his ideas. No brief summary can do justice to any broad, engaging set of ideas. Also, I thought you'd rather judge for yourself than be spoonfed, which is why I suggested reading the analysis of the Schwarzenegger/Davis campaign, although his overtly political writing is an extremely simplified, deliberately "warmer" version of his academics (I prefer the academic writing, but I recognize the need to make the work more accessible).

His field of study is (basically) the way language shapes perception, and his political writing is essentially focused on how to use language to shape perception. You want to call that marketing? You're not wrong, but that's one of many categories that could be chosen -- "rhetoric" being another -- and the choice of the word "marketing" is so laden with sneering, it's likely to prevent someone from seeing the value of a tool.

You think the OP and I are colluding? How... bizarre. It's the middle of the night, and most people are in bed (I was, but only for a few hours, sadly). So yes, only two people who respect Lakoff have posted in this thread so far. But it's not like Lakoff has been discussed here before....

...and two or three or thirty-seven thousand other times, by hundreds or thousands of other DUers, who must be "jointly pushing" to draw people into their touchy-feely cult.

If you're actually interested in exploring some of Lakoff's linguistics, you can take a stroll through 49,000 academic articles by him or at least referring to him in their summaries (not citations, summaries):
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AC_Mem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 08:04 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Thanks ThatPoetGuy
I didn't do a summary of the book,I just made a comment on a part I found interesting and invited a discussion on how we can bridge our differences as democrats/liberals/progressives to get on message for the good of our country.

The differences were beautifully proven by the attack on my post, don't you think? Talking about punching me in the face? Really? I'm a grandmother and try to be the best person I know how to be.

Of course I'm going to alert on this and ignore. Some of the posters on DU can be pretty disturbing.

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BeFree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-15-11 08:29 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. heh
I'm not a member of an organized party, I am a member of the Democratic party.
Forgot who first said that but it's 60 years old.

Found out from your OP that I can be labeled as all 6 of the different democrat types!

We've a problem. We can't set aside our differences and work together against the common foe. If it wasn't for the fact that we are so large in numbers we'd never make any progress, but since we are a majority (all 6 inclusive) we do barely scrape by.

I've found that big things cause big changes. Obama's election is an example.
It will take another big thing before we make more big changes.
Until that event transpires, keep plugging, would be my advice.

Peace, and thanks, Annette.
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AC_Mem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 02:18 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Very interesting perspective
I hope that we have many big things leading to 2012. As much as the GOP is on message, their message is not resonating with the majority of people right now. We just may unite in our combined disapproval of the republicans vision for America.

I think you are right, big things cause big changes. The wave that was the Obama campaign drew so many of us into the energy, it was a very exciting time to be alive and part of that history. And you know what? In those crowds of hundreds of thousands of people, I bet people didn't care what type of democrat they were or even if they were a democrat.

Medicare, social security, and unions are a very good start in pulling us tightly together again. Taxes too - nearly every democrat/liberal I encounter is willing to pay more taxes to help the country. The working class is willing to give more; the mega-rich want to give less. It's a good cause to get behind and will feel really good for people when the GOP is defeated in their attempts to tear them apart.

Lovely talking to you about this!
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LooseWilly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 03:07 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. It is amusing that the first link you provide is to someone trying to get rid of the books...
"So I'm trying to declutter and I have a few extra copies of George Lakoff's DVD "How Democrats and Progressives Can Win" and book "Don't Think of An Elephant." "...

You might want to re-consider the editing process of your link posting. In the meantime... between the posted excerpts of the OP and the links you've provided, I think I'll save myself time and never clutter my life with anything by this author whose every quote I've seen here sounds like spiritualized-positive-thinking-tripe regurgitated and recycled into some sort of psychology/marketing/rhetoric theory.

I never heard anything about him when I was at Berkeley and it sounds like the theories suggested by his titles are more elegantly communicated, though by means of poetry, by Professor Booth ( (academic)) and his Shakespeare analyses... in as much as his analyses illustrate the underlying meanings of metaphors and what the audience brings to the metaphor of a writer/speaker... which in turn reveals something about the minds of the audience as reflected by what said audience brings to the metaphors... but these analyses communicate these ideas by means of Shakespearerather than some nauseau-inducing neo-new-age-positive-thinking-tripe.

So... I reiterate my inclination to "proactively" take to heart the first line of the first link you provided, and remain free of the clutter of Lakoff.

In the meantime... Mr. PoetGuy... I'll leave you to wade through Dr. Booth's work without any links to explore for answers as to whether I'm right or wrongturn about is fair play, after all. ;)
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zeos3 Donating Member (912 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-16-11 03:36 AM
Response to Original message
10. Thanks for the reminder
This book has been on my list for a long time. I'll pick up a copy this week.

It's ironic that the "harmful idea" seems to have immediately shown up in this thread.
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