11 Dec

I shared this with close friends exactly a year ago, and the question still haunts me, so I thought I’d put it out there for you guys to shed light on. Not your typical cheery holiday fare, I know.


American rhetoric is littered with war words on a daily basis. The nation’s lexicon is so charged with conflict–the war against smoking, the battle against cancer, the fight to save a marriage–that every act, no matter how innocuous, is verbally militarized. So deeply entrenched are these cultural references to violence, that those raised in the country barely appear to notice. Is there anyone else who sees this? I can’t be the only one! Why don’t we question it? Is there any literature or research on this that would help me understand the phenomenon?

7 Responses to “Opposes/Supposes”

  1. Dk December 11, 2013 at 9:50 am #

    So true. And well worth thinking about OJ. the language and the words could be symptomatic of a culture that is too impatient to negotiate, to navigate, to tolerate ? Dramatising, sensationalising with strong “militarised” terminology makes for greater titillation value and the media may have a lot to do with it. Just my two cents.

  2. hAAthi December 12, 2013 at 1:33 am #

    I think it was Chomsky (I cant be sure, cannot remember) who said something to the effect of “you are your culture, and your culture is what you speak.” Im paraphrasing an essay I read in college, and Im still not sure if it was chomsky, must look up my text book.

  3. Aneela Z December 13, 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Jaani, I have a whole thesis out about the ” militarizing” of minds ( and lexicon) in South Asia..there is also the as problematic usage of psychosexual terms.. Penetration, rape of motherland et al.
    This all leads to ( amongst others) our comfort with a more masculinuzed idea of peace, of victory.. As in we love vanquishing the other, deterrence policies; and not so much negotiation, conflict resolution.. Whether this is a war on household grime and indoor pests or whether it is pesky neighbours across the Wagah!!

  4. Aunty G December 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    The ‘Wild West’ was based on killing
    Whether bison, outlaw or native American living
    That’s why you’ll find
    My writing i do mind
    Negativity and aggressiveness is always chilling!

  5. CW December 17, 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    I’ve noticed it too. I thought it was a result of 9/11? (A question mark ’cause I’m not too sure- maybe that’s when *I* started noticing it?) A need to reassure people that those in power are doing their best to deal with national problems. And the only way to get the message across is to baste it in aggressive language. If they don’t, I don’t know, they think people might not take them seriously?

  6. chronicworrier December 17, 2013 at 7:11 pm #

    There’s another thing that’s been on my mind– daily life appears to be a battle (as represented by and in the media). Sure, good things happen everyday but they seem to be a welcome change in the default setting of a very difficult life. Or maybe, I’m reading too much into it?

  7. Orange Jammies December 20, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Dk: I do see it as a media-generated construct, but given how much the institution permeates everyday American existence, the terminology is entrenched in the national lexicon.

    hAAthi: Let me know if you do. I’m interested.

    Aneela: Must read that thesis!

    Aunty G: ‘Tis true about the West
    Practices not the best
    But the fair East
    Is hardly a gentle beast
    In these times that test

    CW: I got here in the year of 9/11, so can’t comment on linguistics before that time, but something tells me it is a culture that glorifies valor, courage, heroism and overcoming odds more than most because that is how the nation-state was founded. Aunty G in her comment above may be on to something when she says this part of the modern world was established over corpses.

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