a coincidence across time and space

something like the coincidence i described in my previous post, interpreting signs from fate, happened last week.

at doc searls’ ibiblio talk he summarized some of the things george lakoff says about conservatives’ and liberals’ differing use of the metaphor of family underlying their discourse (apparently conservatives use the strict father model and liberals use the nurturant parent model).

i had recently linked to an article/interview with lakoff about conservative discourse that swept through the blogosphere, i still haven’t read it, but being the blogger that he is, i figured doc searls was garnering most of his information from that recent source.

then this weekend i got a large envelope from my grandmother with clippings, a habit she is well known for. everyone in our family is quite used to getting clippings in christmas cards, birthday cards, etc. sending someone a link via email is essentially our modern day equivalent. she sent it from maine, so i imagine she traveled up there from ohio with several boxes full of papers and magazines to clip, annotate, and lovingly mail to the family (which makes me think about printing this blog post and sending it to her).

i have to imagine there must have been a substantial backlog because in this envelope there were several pages out of a new yorker from october 2000 with a linguistically and politically themed article entitled “the word lab” by nicholas lemann. this article about political speech and focus groups is exceptionally relevant in our current political times, and it’s funny to think that when it was published, i was in the fall semester of my junior year at unc. i’m not even sure if i was officially a linguistics major by that point.

anyway, i read a page or two, then started skimming, then just started flipping pages (there were 7) when my eyes fell upon a paragraph that started,

“A few years ago, Lakoff wrote a book called ‘Moral Politics,’ in which he said that the way to understand the two [political] parties, rhetorically, is through the analogy of the nation to a family.”

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