Monday, May 16, 2011

Things that we need a word for

There are economic and political concepts that almost everyone understand at some basic level: Inflation, Socialism, Cost Of Living, Democracy, Constitutionality, etc. 

There are others that are fuzzy to many voters:  Regulatory Capture, Monetary Policy, Federalism, and the like. 

And then there are the ones that I don't believe we have a good word for.  For instance....

* When the idjit Fox News debate moderator recently asked the Republican presidential candidates to raise their hands if they would support waterboarding "under certain circumstances that you can imagine", Ron Paul and Gary Johnson didn't raise their hands.  I don't know what this proves.  The point of the question eludes me. 
I'm against waterboarding, or any other form of torture.  But if aliens from the planet Nekthor were to invade us, and they said that they had Chairman Mao on board and that unless I waterboarded the murderous bastard for a few minutes, they would destroy the earth?  Yeah, I would waterboard Chairman Mao under those circumstances.  But what does that prove? 
We need a word for that type of question or debate exercise.  It's not a False Dichotomy, or the Either/Or Fallacy.  We need a word that implies that the person asking the question is playing "gotcha". 

* We need a new word to define this situation:  when politicians talk about how many jobs a new government program will create, but then make no mention of who the money to create the jobs will be taken away from?  Or how many jobs will be eliminated or never created because of that theft?  We need a new word for that situation.  "Stealing" is accurate, but takes too long to explain. 

* Ok, say you are in a romantic relationship with a whore.  She claims that she's a reformed whore, but every couple of weeks you catch her turning tricks outside bus stops, in No-Tell Motels, and with biker gangs.  She always starts crying and says that she's never going to do it again.  You accept this as truth, and continue the relationship. 
Take that concept and apply it to the debt ceiling.  We've raised it 70 times since it was invented.  Seventy.  No matter how much money we give to Washington, they're going to spend more than that.  They swear that they're never, ever, ever going to raise it again.  You accept this as truth, and continue your relationship with the Democrat and Republican parties. 
We need a new word meaning "steadfast refusal to admit that someone is a whore". 

* There are some very smart people who wouldn't dream of using the U.S. Postal Service to deliver an important document.  They use UPS of FedEx.  But they claim that government option is the best for education, healthcare, retirement, and a stable money supply.  We need a new word for their mental condition.  "Cognitive Dissonance" doesn't quite cover it, and "Gullible" is too broad.     

Those are the vocabulary needs that immediately come to mind. 


Ray said...

Loaded question

Broken window fallacy

Not sure .. ?


Just some thoughts!

CenTexTim said...

We need a word that implies that the person asking the question is playing "gotcha".


when politicians talk about how many jobs a new government program will create, but then make no mention of who the money to create the jobs will be taken away from

Stimulus myopia

a new word meaning "steadfast refusal to admit that someone is a whore"


they claim that government option is the best for education, healthcare, retirement, and a stable money supply. We need a new word for their mental condition

acute liberalism

Cedric Katesby said...

We need a word for that type of question or debate exercise. It's not a False Dichotomy, or the Either/Or Fallacy. We need a word that implies that the person asking the question is playing "gotcha".

Any question put to a politician should be grounded in reality.
Absurdly hypothetical scenarios are a waste of time.
Asking a question about a politician's own statements and their logical consequences would be fair enough. Giving them a real-life historical crisis to deal with would also be reasonable.
If a politician panders to a special interests group, then they should be made to explain in detail what that means for the rest of us.

I'm against waterboarding, or any other form of torture.

Glad to hear it. Torture is an ugly word. It should be used more often to remind people what they are really talking about. Torture is an ugly word for an ugly act. That's why a gentler and kinder term "enhanced interrogation techniques" was invented. It makes all the unpleasant icky thoughts go away.
Waterboarding? Sounds almost like fun. Childlike.
I, however, prefer the more traditional name that the Spanish Inquistion came up for it: Tortura del agua.
Sounds beautiful.
Though perhaps a more American name could be the Chase J. Nielsen treatment.

"During World War II both Japanese troops, especially the Kempeitai, and the officers of the Gestapo, the German secret police, used waterboarding as a method of torture. During the Japanese occupation of Singapore the Double Tenth Incident occurred. This included waterboarding, by the method of binding or holding down the victim on his back, placing a cloth over his mouth and nose, and pouring water onto the cloth. In this version, interrogation continued during the torture, with the interrogators beating the victim if he did not reply and the victim swallowing water if he opened his mouth to answer or breathe. When the victim could ingest no more water, the interrogators would beat or jump on his distended stomach.
Chase J. Nielsen, one of the U.S. airmen who flew in the Doolittle raid following the attack on Pearl Harbor, was subjected to waterboarding by his Japanese captors. At their trial for war crimes following the war, he testified "Well, I was put on my back on the floor with my arms and legs stretched out, one guard holding each limb. The towel was wrapped around my face and put across my face and water poured on. They poured water on this towel until I was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let up until I'd get my breath, then they'd start over again... I felt more or less like I was drowning, just gasping between life and death." The United States hanged Japanese soldiers for waterboarding American prisoners of war."

Everybody has an opinion on torture. Yet hardly anybody is willing to do the slightest bit of reality-based research on it before offering their opinion.

The good guys don't torture. The good guys punish those that do. The TV show "24" is just a TV show.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

thanks for the suggestions.
I've been doing some songwriting lately, mostly 3-chord redneck noise stuff.
I'm struck by how few words we have in English to rhyme with the word "love", which happens to be the #1 song topic. You've got dove, above, glove, shove, and you can cheat with "of". The tune I'm working on now is fairly idiotic, but fun. The first verse laments the lack of rhymes for "love". All the other verses suggest additional words we could invent to make the songwriting task easier. "The president's Mama is the 'Lady Begove', the popemobile top is now the 'scrimbledymuv', your toenail clippings are 'podiobuv', and now we've got more words to rhyme with 'love'."
The only redeeming feature of the song is the list of bizarre things that we don't have a name for. And any group of guitar pickers sitting in a circle can make up endless new verses for days and days and days.
In my fantasies, one of these new words enters the English language within my lifetime.