Framing the issues: UC Berkeley professor George Lakoff tells how conservatives use language to dominate politics
By Bonnie Azab Powell, NewsCenter | 27 October 2003
BERKELEY – With Republicans controlling the Senate, the House, and the White House and enjoying a large margin of victory for California Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger, it's clear that the Democratic Party is in crisis. George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley professor of linguistics and cognitive science, thinks he knows why. Conservatives have spent decades defining their ideas, carefully choosing the language with which to present them, and building an infrastructure to communicate them, says Lakoff.
The work has paid off: by dictating the terms of national debate, conservatives have put progressives firmly on the defensive.
This article pointed out something to me: that creating and disseminating new (or old) ways of thinking requires institutional support, that social change isn't always a matter of individuals doing what they can. I'm wondering what you folks think about how postqueers can accomplish this. Obviously, HRC is one of the institutions doing this--- but they're not radical. GenderPAC is, but their effectiveness seems limited precisely because they're open about the idea that gender is constructed.
As a genderqueer, I've found that a lot of explaining my life to people requires a background in feminist/gender theory to understand; mainstream folk who haven't been steeped in that often just don't get it. How do we frame our language about gender to question the gender-binary assumption?