Words are the source of misunderstandings.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery
A nation gets the political rhetoric it deserves, and that political rhetoric reveals as well as conceals. Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, not just double talk, b.s. or obfuscation. Political talk tries to be strictly scripted but the script is always disrupted by unexpected events and emergent or recombinant memes–“bimbo eruptions”, the fall of Lehman Brothers, “self deport”, “legitimate rape”, Mexicans are rapists, ‘the deplorables,” etc.
This blog keeps track of the ever-shifting meanings of words, phrases, references and numbers. Especially in politics, no word, number, image, reference or metaphor is innocent; context changes content. Every word is a weapon in the total war that is contemporary American politics, and exists in a rhetorical ecosystem. Thoughts, ideologies, words and actions thus are transformed into mythic and persistent narratives.
I intend to look at political speech as a scripted act with consequences. Even when political speech seems genuine–in fact, especially when it seems most genuine–it is a calculated choice: all artifice, all the time. The ends justify the memes and vice-versa.