User:WaitingforGodot/loaded language

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Loaded Language[edit]

Loaded language is a linguistic term for words and phrases used to invoke emotional reactions to the subject, rather than logical reactions. Loaded language is a favorite of politicians and advertisers, both of whom are trying to sell you a box of contraband.

Examples of Loaded Language in Politics[edit]

A tax on the estate when someone dies, called the Estate Tax becomes ominous and threatening when termed "Death Tax", because the listener automatically associates the tax with death.

The phrase "No child left behind" emphasizes the innocence of children, and the feeling of isloation at being left behind, rather than the same program which could have been called "Helping students succeed in school".

"Defense of marriage" Act intentionally invokes the image that marriage is being attacked, rather than a more straight forward name "Marriage for heterosexual couples" act.

And everyone's favorite "Family Values" which immediately invokes the feelings of warmth, security, honesty and support that a family brings. Even though the term really addresses topics of hatred for one group of people (gays), and role models for women that might also suggest "hatred" of those same women.

Code Words[edit]

Code Words are terms that are used within a particular group of people to convey one meaning to that group while sounding innocuous to any listener outside of the group. An obvious example of this is "Code Red" or "Code Blue" in a hospital to alert doctors and nurses about particular situations without alarming the patients.

Code words in Politics[edit]

The term "Liberal" has become a code word in politics, as the word shifts meaning from the "at large" population of "one who seeks change" to the conservative view "soft on crime" "weak" "tax loving" "Christian hating" "gay loving" "tradition hating" or simply "evil incarnate".

Similarly, the word "Pro-Life" really is not meant for a person who puts life first, after all, by that term, all humans would be pro-life, but infact means "those who are against abortion (and sometimes euthanasia)".

In the Clinton impeachment trials, expert Alan Dershowitz explained ""Whenever I hear the words 'real Americans', that sounds to me like a code word for racism, a code word for bigotry, a code word for anti-Semitism."


Dog Whistle Politics[edit]

Dog Whistle Politics are use of code words in situations where the meaning is intentionally obfuscated in order to disparage a particular minority or belief without raising an alarm among those who would be offended by the meaning. It is assumed by the speaker that the outgroup can't see past the plain meaning to the hidden message behind the words.

Examples in US Politics[edit]

In certain segments of the US political spectrum, claiming to be "tough on crime" is intended to subtly convey or take advantage of racism. Equally, "States Rights" is understood in particular circles as a code for institutionalized racism. It has been argued that George Bush used coded language in his presidential speeches. The argument is that when he mentioned Dredd Scott is was understood by those in the right circle that he was talking of the over-turning of Roe v. Wade.[1] It has been claimed by conservatives that the Obama "fist bumb" is a dog-whistle to all blacks that "hey, I'm hip and super cool".

Snarl or Snark words[edit]

The term snarl word [2] is a derogatory label that can be attached to something, in order to ignore it or hate it without guilt. When used as a snarl words, these words are essentially meaningless; most of them can be used with meaning, but rarely are.

While not actually using the word, liberal comedian/pundit Al Franken went into great detail about the "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy"'s use of snarl words and other forms of emotional appeal in his first political work, Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot, specifically referencing Newt Gingrich and Lee Atwater's political activities and conservative pressure groups' reliance on such tactics to slam through the 1994 Contract With America program.

Popular snarl words include:

   * Deceiver
   * Liberal
   * Elitist
   * Conservative
   * Communist
   * Fascist
   * Nazi
   * Moonbat
   * Kitten Huffer
   * Troll
   * Flat earther
   * Helena Bonham Carter
   * Canard (used on arguments rather than individuals)
   * Cult
   * Secular humanist
   * Fundy 


References[edit]

  1. http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=judged_dred
  2. a term not previously defined