Glossary: Key memes, dog-whistles, canards, euphemisms, fake outrages and obsessions in the Wall Street Journal and other GOP language factories, April 5-12, 2016

Clinton Foundation: the Brazilianization of US politics.

humiliation: A bedrock Trumpian narrative, invoking outrage, victimhood,  and revenge . This narrative of retaliation frames our refusal to exert force abroad as a pathological weakness,   and is fueled by the myth of American Exceptionalism to generate and inform a seething  emotional and philosophical seedbed of violence and retaliation. Singling out “the bad guys” (Mexicans, Muslims, etc.)  assigns blame for feelings of humiliation, vulnerability, and powerlessness. Trump Nation serves as both an audience and a humiliated protagonist who will do anything to reclaim agency and sovereignty. After all, the word humiliation’s Greek root has to do with dirt, subordination, a putting down, hierarchies–the very opposite rhetorical schema  as that of American Exceptionalism. 

This argument that humiliation lies at the roots of fascism was summed up nicely in 1995 by Umberto Eco, who argued that  fascists are a cult of “action for action’s sake,” where “thinking is a form of emasculation”; an intolerance of “analytical criticism,” where disagreement is condemned; a profound “fear of difference,” where leaders appeal against “intruders”; appeals to individual and social frustration and specifically a “frustrated middle class” suffering from “feelings of political humiliation and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups”; a nationalist identity set against internal and external enemies (an “obsession with a plot”); a feeling of humiliation by the “ostentatious wealth and force of their enemies”; a “popular elitism” where “every citizen belongs to the best people of the world” and underscored by contempt for the weak; and a celebration of aggressive (and often violent) masculinity.

legal thieves: government officials. Almost all taxation is over-taxation.

living Constitution: the Lib Dem rationale for limiting the rights of citizens and Congress through judges legislating from the bench.

moral relativism: the seeds of Al Qaeda and ISIS. Rooted in the moral nihilism of the Lib Dems.

“of course”, “no one is saying,” etc: The standard qualifier, designed to counter liberal charges of racism, sexism, etc.  This rhetorical ploy is a smokescreen designed to shift the conversation and reassure the faithful, as Fred Clark argues in his Slactivism blog:

The substance of the Standard Answer comes last because the substantial aspect — punish doctors, not women — isn’t coherent enough to bear the weight of a satisfactory answer. The load-bearing work is done prior to that insubstantial substance. The key component is the dismissive tone — all that “of course” and “no one is saying …” business that denies the legitimacy of the question and thus denies that any response needs to be substantial or logical or coherent. The boldness of this evasion is softened and diffused by the move from singular to plural and from the particular to a vague, undifferentiated “we.”

The Standard Answer, in other words, avoids engaging the question as “What do I think” by shifting the response to “What we say/think/believe is …” This may seem unimportant to the questioner, but it is vitally important to the answerer because, again, this is the primary function of the Standard Answer: reassuring oneself that an answer exists and that “we” have one, and that therefore I do not need to worry about it any further.

religious freedom:  The freedom to exercise your faith-based conscience, even if it means curtailing the freedom of others. The logic of this claim of “freedom” invariably leads to protecting bigots.

supple economy: one with low taxes and little or no regulation. A supple economy works best with a supine government. A well-functioning capitalist system relies on prices for guidance, not rules.

urban school children: victims of the pathology of black culture: absent fathers, drug addiction, hip-hop, etc. Notice how this meme pathologizes all black youth, who already face the high likelihood of prison, police stops, etc.


Glossary, April 20-27, 2013

an anatomy of key memes, phrases and obsessions in Wall Street Journal editorials and other precincts of the GOP blogosphere, April 20-27, 2013

assimilation:the first casualty of the Boston bombings. (See also “food stamp jihadists” and “the ethnic grievance lobby”).

character: (see also, “moral compass”).  A trump-card virtue, considered to be exclusively possessed by Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, and, lately and astonishingly, Bush 43.  Lacking this virtue, Obama is always merely “calculating” and bent upon his collectivist, totalitarian, redistributionist makeover of the United States.

entitlement culture: the source of all ills in America; the nation of “takers, not makers”; Food Stamp America.  Evil spawn of earlier “moocher” memes such as “hippie” culture and myths of Negro laziness. Apparently, though, corporations are entitled to tax breaks, legal immunity, and subsidies.

the ethnic grievance lobby: along with Big Business and Big Labor, the main political force behind immigration reform.

food stamp jihadists: The Boston Massacre bombings are looking to be a trifecta for the GOP: immigrant-bashing,  welfare bashing, and a renewed war of eternal vigilance against “terror”.

people control: the real aim of the “gun control” (aka, “gun grabbers”) crowd.

sequester scare strategy:  any furloughs or budget cuts that are dire enough to nudge public opinion toward the Kenyan Pretender. The GOP always suggests alternative budget cuts, usually  for ridiculous-sounding (but sound) research projects, office supplies, travel budgets, or Acorn (“community organizing”)-style funding. These alternatives are always referred as “smart spending”.

socialist degeneration, cycle of: creating a reduced, weakened private sector that can’t generate enough jobs to raise the working poor out of poverty.

Third World experience: part of the growing GOP Politiscript lexicon for Obamacare. (See also “train wreck” ).  In this case, shorthand for FUBAR. The Republicans can never admit that any aspect of Obamacare is anything other than a catastrophic meltdown of the entire health care system and the inevitable result of government trying to do anything.

tolerance: liberals giving into sentiment about suspending civil liberties—no one is tolerant in a foxhole or when it comes to approving secret domestic wiretaps.

Glossary, April 12-19, 2013

an anatomy of key memes, phrases and obsessions in Wall Street Journal editorials and other precincts of the GOP blogosphere, April 12-19, 2013

angry: any expression of emotion from President Obama.

anti-antiterror: so-called media bias against racial profiling. In the wake of the Boston bombing, racial profiling is on the upsurge.

common sense: akin to natural law, human nature, or gravity, and bearing a surprising overlap with Tea Party position The DNA of instincts and values. (see “moral clarity.” Below).

the “do something” caucus: those intent on any form of gun control. The do-nothings carried the day.

“gun control: always in fright quotes. Gun controllers= “gun grabbers”. Similar to “so-called “assault’ rifles”.

elitist: any Obama moral position, whether on gun control, immigration, climate change, etc. In GOP rhetoric, it is virtually impossible for Obama to take a moral stand on anything without appearing “insufferably condescending”, “superior-feeling” and engaging in “meddling and moralistic overreach”.

The Homeland: still a battlefield, thank God, thanks to the Boston bombers. Even though Dzhokar Tsarnaev  is an American citizen, he does not deserve any  Miranda rights

moral clarity: The missing gene in the DNA of Obama foreign policy. Moral clarity, on the other hand, is the key gene in the DNA of invasion, war and occupation.

moral relativism: the Boy Scouts yielding to the “homosexual agenda” by allowing gay members.

obsessives:  anyone suggesting alternatives to carbon energy

train wreck: mandatory synonym for ObamaCare. The Tea Party faithful eagerly anticipate “the coming train wreck,” and will do everything they can to make it happen. ObamaCare is doomed to sink under its own regulatory obesity until it becomes a purely lean and mean “market-based approach”.