Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Scent of Fear

It is interesting to see the difference in the words that are used if you are conservative or progressive. Take for example the sensational, “Global Warming”, a phrase that is meant to strike fear. When conservatives accepted that something is actually happening to the climate they reduced the spin by calling it, “Climate Change.”

Progressives will use the term “Illegal Immigrants” or “Undocumented Workers” while conservatives use the term “Illegal Aliens.” This conservative notion isn’t new. Growing up in on the east coast I lived in what was once called a Melting Pot because people of all cultures landed in New York and New Jersey as they fled all sorts of nasty conditions in Europe and West Asia. Most arrived poor and unwelcome, though all seemed to find their place in the workforce.

Most notable were the Italians who came here with amazing skills for masonry, stone masonry and tile setting. It was the Italians that shouldered the burden for all the building projects of the early to mid 20th century. They were the new kids on the block and most inhabitants shifter their hatred from the Irish to the Italians.

Somehow, a complimentary Spanish term “Guapo” pronounced wapo, was used by those that liked the swarthy Italian look to describe the new immigrants was twisted by xenophobes into WOP, which they said stood for Without Papers or Without Passport.

Fear is the means by which over-reaction is delivered to the mass culture. Fortunately the word “Spin” was coined in the 90s. It added to the cynicism of the masses, but at least now when wild accusations are made, someone can expose the spin and illuminate the subject in a different light.


Blogger Beth said...

We're immersed in a national election here too (bet there's minimal to no coverage of it there) and from my progressive (liberal) perspective, I've noted the same tactics in language usage.
Wish everyone could see through it.

4:50 AM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Have you noticed over the years, that there is ALWAYS a "crisis" of one sort or another? Can you ever recall a time when there wasn't one? I believe that we are being not-so subtly manipulated (by whoever, the press the gov't, the trilateral comission, whoever "they" might be) to be alarmed all the time. Mentally herded like sheep. There's no oil crisis. We have enough oil under Prudoe Bay to run this country for a hundred years. The Iranians and the North Koreans have had nuclear capability for years. If there wasn't a crisis, the people in charge would lose the attention and the focus of the masses and their power base would dissolve. I know I sound like one of those conspiracy nuts, but if you look back at historical records and back-check some of the data, you'll see this is happening. Read "State of Fear" by Michael Chrichton. Then go back and look at some of the hard data on the climate. Check his sources. We have found the enemy and he is us.

6:32 AM  
Blogger weese said...

Both my grandparents on my fathers side came over from Italy. They worked in the GE factory all their lives so that my father could go to University. When he graduated he actually changed the spelling of his (our) last name from starting with the Italian "Di" to "De" (my grandparents still used "Di")- this was so when he sent his resume out to prospective employers they would not assume he was Italian and therefore would not discriminate against him.
Of course look and ... well lets just say my people are a short, round, island people. It is of course the round part I am in constant battle with.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Uncle Walt said...

red herring argument - comparing the prior attitudes towards IMMIGRANTS with modern attitudes towards ALIENS, as if they have the same basis.

1 - IMMIGRANTS come here legally. ALIENS are here illegally.

2 - Prior attitudes were most often based in racial bigotry. Modern attitudes are most often based in a belief that, if we are a nation of laws, then everybody should follow the same laws.

3 - False crisis? I guess that would depend on what YOU define as a crisis. I don't call the current stock market situation a crisis. It's just a natural correction that the gov't cause with it's stupid regulations in the first place, and people overestimating the value of stock. If the gov't doesn't allow the market to correct itself now, it will have to correct itself in the future.

2:57 PM  
Blogger darev2005 said...

Of course if it weren't for immigrants or aliens, probably very few of us would be here at all. We're a nation of mongrels. My family lineage is mongrels. And probably a few mongols, as well. Dutch, irish, english, welsh, scottish, italian german and indian. And that's just on my mothers side. And the difference between immigrants and aliens has only been in the last 50 years or so. If you came here from another country and you wanted to live here and become a citizen, you were an immigrant. Unless you were a communist. Then it got dicey. Aliens came from mars.
And it's only a crisis because the media says it's so. Because there has to be a crisis for our pundits to follow. There must be a beacon for the gadflies to flit about. There must be a banner to raise or a flag to wave ALL THE TIME because without them we would see exactly what we are paying all those people to do. And that is to tell us when there's a crisis. Simple.

5:00 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I think we should give it all back to the Indians, but then Mike would be lonely.

Walt, I hope your retirement funds weren't "Corrected."

8:58 PM  

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