Tag Archives: Language

Goldstone (2016)

This passage from Ivan Sen’s script captures the moral void at the center of corporate rhetoric. But there’s still too much color, too much of the particular and the local in Johnny’s (David Wenham) words. In modern American institutions, by contrast, the neutralization of language as an expression of authentic humanity by depriving speech of all spontaneity has been perfected. It does this with a paint-by-numbers lexicon of stock phrases. Even my students will sometimes inform me they “just wanted to reach out” regarding an assignment. An administrator wryly informs us in a zoom meeting he wants to “open the kimono.” Bjorn Öste, the inventor of oat milk, is a “disruptor,” Forbes explains.

Johnny:
Today here we make history.
Today we guarantee
your community’s security.
We’re talking
about infrastructure.
We’re talking jobs and training.
Getting those lost kids
off the drugs
and into full-time jobs.
Look, I know some of you
mob are worried about your…
your sacred sites
and protecting your culture.
But at Furnace Creek,
we pride ourselves
on our environmental
and our cultural record.
We hold our hands out
to walk together down
this new pathway to the future
with the approval of this
new exploration agreement.
Let’s just jump to it
and I’ll invite
the Broken River
council board members
to come up here to give their
autographs of approval in front
of youse all here today.
Thank you.

manufacture

One way consent (hegemony) is manufactured and maintained is through particular uses of language. Here’s an example from the New York Times:

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Note the use of passive verb construction when the police originate violence and the use of active verb construction when ordinary people do.