Condemnation in its Strongest Terms: Does it Pay to Enrich your Word Power?

Stupid, nasty, awful, racist, appalling, misleading, tasteless, off-base, doubly-offensive, ugly, disgraceful*), repellent, anti-Chinese.

word power

Fill me in

You will find all these descriptions across this commenting thread on the Peking Duck. They refer to a Superbowl Ad approved by a certain Peter Hoekstra, a Republican from Michigan, former member of the House of Representatives, now running for the U.S. Senate.

Maybe some day, I’ll sit down and try to find out if language can rather do without nouns, or with adjectives. For now, I believe, much of political debate can easily do without nouns, but not without adjectives. You simply link to the issue in question – here, the ad video by Hoekstra and company, and blast it with adjectives.

A handy effect of this approach is its handiness in choosing or rejecting your interlocutors. All you need to say is something like “if you can’t see that, I think there’s no use that we keep talking”. (This won’t work in every case, but it usually will.) But it’s no political game-changer. It probably won’t  change much about the numbers of people supporting either side in a debate.

Neither the ad itself, nor comdemnation of it, are helpful.

Hoekstra endorsed the ad’s message. Those who disagree with him – and there are good reasons to disagree – should refute it.

Word power is important, but without good arguments, it won’t make a great difference.



*) The blog host reacting to a comment which in turn – and also in the strongest terms – opposed the condemnation of the superbowl ad as racist.



“Democratic hate machine ignores the point”, toddfein, Febr 6, 2012



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