Monday, February 19, 2018

Robert Reich interviews George Lakoff

Robert Reich in this interview features the linguist George Lakoff about Lakoff's famous advice to Democrats about political framing. This really is an interview, not a debate or even a discussion, though it's partly the latter. And Reich does a very good job in asking probing questions that wind up highlighting both the strengths and weaknesses of Lakoff's argument. In Conversation: Robert Reich and George Lakoff, Language and Politics 02/14/2018:

I thinking a lot of what Lakoff has to say is very useful. I often talk about the importance of "framing" in the sense Lakoff means it.

My main criticism of his position is what I would describe as a kind of linguistic reduction. It's a little reminiscent of the 1960s cliche, "What we have here is a problem of communication." It became a punchline mocking people who tried to reduce real material problems to a matter of insufficient polite conversation with one another. I suppose that's a professional hazard for linguists.

I was impressed with this interview.

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