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9781586483869 / 1586483862

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About the book:

This is a captivating, witty story of the 'Great Re-labelling' of American language and thought from a master linguist, broadcaster and popular intellectual. Modern linguistics has become a leading edge of the political fight, and in America, the right is winning the (re) presentation battle time after time. The Republican Party has become harder, meaner and better at getting out the message. The Estate Tax became the menacing "Death Tax", cutting down pristine woodland became a campaign for "Healthy Forests" and a contentious education initiative hid under the comforting (and memorable) blanket of "No Child Left Behind". But, Nunberg shows that even with their catchier phrases, the Right didn't actually persuade voters to trust them more on healthcare, education or the environment. They weren't trying to. They had a much more dramatic ambition: to change people's minds so that the issues that favoured the left became "issues" no more. "Climate Change" sounds like an expression of the vagaries of the weather forecast. Where's the politics in that? Nunberg charts the way in which the Right's use of language has encouraged Americans to forget what they believe in, and to assume that it doesn't matter any more. It has been a brilliantly successful campaign. And, the Right had prepared a new language to fill the void, a language that favoured them almost exclusively and tortured the Left by tying them in knots. Nunberg has written a captivating and outraged story of what he calls "The Great Re-labelling" of American language and thought. Written with wit and insight, passion and indignation, this is a book for anyone who's concerned that what they say might not be what they think, whoever they, or we, are.

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