Sunday, December 19, 2004

More from the language police

NPR's "On the Media" has an interesting piece on the Chicago Tribune's pending revisions to their stylebook changing the term for third-trimester fetus to "unborn child." Then as if to wash themselves of the pro-life odor of the Trib's renovations, the show follows up with an idiotic conversation w/UC Berkeley linguistics prof George Lakoff, who insists that the Trib is falling prey to the right-wing truth-distorting "message machine." For him "unborn child" means nothing more than "a right-wing term corresponding to fetus." It's not that I don't believe that all language is social constructed and "framed" to a large degree. It's that these ho-humpfing academics think people care whether we call a fetus a "fetus" or an "unborn child." You can call it mud for all I care; it's human; it's sui generis; it's alive; and you can't kill it.

The host identifies Lakoff as a "prominent Democratic political strategist." No wonder they got whooped in November.