Monday, November 28, 2005


Wretchard, discussing labels:

One of the most important functions of labels is to summarize a large quantity of information in a single symbol. Because people don't have the time to comprehensively analyze the specific attributes of a product they often rely on labels or simply branding information to serve as a proxy indicator of the properties they wish to measure. Labels perform a similar function in politics.
People buy on the basis of labels; people vote on the basis of labels, and sometimes they are misled.

He uses the concepts of "soft" power (better than "hard" presumably); and the Kyoto Climate agreement (signers are more environmentally friendly than non-signers) as examples of how misled consumers are--since neither concepts works out in the real world to be accurate.

Actually, I think he is on to something. The label of "Peace" or "Antiwar" activist (whose activism encourages and enables those who are most violently opposed to peace) immediately comes to mind, for example; or "Religion of Peace".

In short, the mislabeling tactic has been used widely--both consciously and unconsciously--by groups whose intent and behavior is the exact opposite of their name. Clearly, if they actually labeled themselves appropriately, they would not get nearly the positive attention and support they desire; nor the market share.

A few examples:

ANSWER (which stands for Act Now To Stop War and End Racism) could more accurately be named the VANITY Movement (Violently Antiwar Now International Totalitarian Youth Movement)

UPJ (United for Peace and Justice) would be USDE - United in Support of Dictators Everywhere

Socialism (sounds so comfy, doesn't it?) would really be Antisocialism.

Multiculturalism is more aptly termed Nonwesternculturalism or AntiAmericanism (since the only culture that is unacceptable and held to be inferior is western culture in general; American culture in particular)

The concept of "Diversity" would really be called a "Homgeneity of Ideas"

Affirmative Action would be referred to as Institutional Racism

The chant, "Bush Lied, People Died" would be revised to, "3000 People Died on 9/11 before Bush Said Anything" . The former has the advantage of rhyming, but the latter is closer to truth in advertising. And, that is exactly why the people chanting the former cutesy phrase are so indignant and scream ragefully like stuck pigs about "cynical manipulation" when images of 9/11 are shown; or even when that horrible day is mentioned. They know all about it. The "cynical manipulation" they are referring to is entirely a product of their own minds.

Yes, packaging and labeling really do have an impact on consumers and whether they will buy a product or not. And knowing that there is a deliberate attempt to undermine language and distort the meaning of words in order to manipulate and control those who can't be bothered to think; you need to be be particularly careful these days what you are buying into when you uncritically accept politically-motivated brand names at face value.

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