Thursday, August 4, 2011

Weasel Words

It's the art of saying something that be construed in two ways, one of which is a lie, so that if questioned later, you can claim you meant the innocent version.

This man's use of them borders on artistry.

First, verbatim from the Weekly Standard:
MSNBC host Martin Bashir interviewed Stanton Peele, a psychologist and an "expert on addiction," this afternoon. Bashir urged Peele to psychologically evaluate supporters of the Tea Party. "It reminds us of addiction because addicts are seeking something that they can't have," Peele said. "They want a state of happiness or nirvana that can't be achieved except through an artificial substance and reminds us of the Norway situation, when people are thwarted at obtaining something they can't, have they often strike out and Norway is one kind of example to one kind of reaction to that kind of a frustration."

Bashir later asked: "So you're saying that they are delusional about the past and adamant about the future?"

"They are adamant about achieving something that's unachievable, which reminds us of a couple of things. It reminds us of delusion and psychosis," Peele responded.

The lie he wants you to hear:
"The Tea Party can't have what they want. And that frustration will drive them to kill people like that guy in Norway did. They are delusional and psychotic."

However, by prefacing everything with "reminds us", he didn't actually make a definitive, declarative statement about the Tea Party, he simply made a statement that two items are associated in his mind.

For example, I could say that - being a human male - Peele reminds me of Hitler. While some may assume I've said that Peele is a dangerous, amoral sociopath with a hidden agenda, I am certainly free to clarify that I was merely making an innocent comment on comparative biology.

Although doing so would make me a two-faced weasel, so I'd probably forgo making the original comparison out of decent respect for rhetorical clarity.

5 comments:

  1. History is full of people who would not accept the limitations others established for them. Only in trial by combat do we discover who was right. People only submit tot he courts when they feel there is some reasonable possibility of success. But violnce is always the courst of last resort for anyone who supports their cause strongly enough.

    Nothing says "I am serious about this" like demonstrating your willingness to kill your opponents.

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  2. Now that I think about it, maybe the Tea Party should just roll with this:

    "Yeah, we're delusional and psychotic. If the government doesn't stop spending, we might do something craaaaaazy!"

    If MSNBC really thought the Tea Party was a threat, they'd suck up to them they way they suck up to delusional, psychotic Muslims.

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  3. "Yeah, we're delusional and psychotic. If the government doesn't stop spending, we might do something craaaaaazy!"


    Like vote Republican. AGAIN!

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  4. Rush Limbaugh was talking about him today:
    http://dailyrushbo.com/limbaugh-skewers-msnbc-psychologist-stanton-peele-calling-tea-party-addicts/

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  5. I am old enough to remember the Goldwater campaign. At the time, a number of psychiatrists "diagnosed" Goldwater as psychotic, neurotic, crazy, you name it. None of them had ever met him.

    This is risible on so many levels: for one thing, I have never met a shrink who I would trust to wash my dog.

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