Thursday, October 30, 2008

More On Code Words

Again, asserting that people are using code words is a dangerous path to go down because one is arguing that the opposition's words don't mean what they mean, and instead are open to the worst possible distorted, tenuous interpretation.

Ross Douthat aruges that even if they are code words, they haven't been effective:
Think about it this way: Maybe the "Joe the Plumber" line is a super-coded attempt to play the race-and-welfare card. Hell, maybe all of the race cards McCain has supposedly played - linking Obama to Paris Hilton; cutting an ad with too many white women in it; cutting an ad with too many black men in it; disrespecting community organizing; calling Obama "disrespectful"; bringing up Obama's ties to a (white) domestic terrorist; describing Obama as "that one"; and so on - have been completely cynical attempts to tap into the white electorate's latent or not-so-latent racist sentiments. If this is your take on the election, though, you should acknowledge that if these were all attempts to play the race card, they've been pathetic attempts - weak, bank-shotting, detached from the major issues of the campaign, and so sub-sub-subliminal (Obama is a celebrity ... Paris Hilton is a celebrity ... Paris Hilton is a slut ... Paris Hilton is a slutty white woman ... sex ... Obama is a black man ... black men are randy ... Obama wants to have sex with Paris Hilton ... Obama wants to rape white womanhood!) as to be more or less pointless.

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