For Lilly: "Collateral Language" ..

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Posted by andreas from ( on Friday, December 20, 2002 at 3:01PM :

Dear Lilly,

In Robert Fisk's article you posted under :

"Journalists are Under Fire - Lilly 12:24PM 12/19/2002 () (0) "

he wrote:

" .... Journalists are being attacked for telling the truth, for trying to tell it how it is. American journalists especially. I urge them to read a remarkable new book published by the New York University Press and edited by John Collins and Ross Glover. It's called Collateral Language and is, in its own words, intended to expose "the tyranny of political rhetoric". Its chapter titles – "Anthrax", "Cowardice", "Evil", "Freedom", Fundamentalism", "Justice", "Terrorism", Vital Interests" and – my favorite– "The War on..." (fill in the missing country) tell it all. "

Do you have already read that book?

Feretting around I've found a lot of references of which I only want to mention a part of the official intro from the publishing house (1) and - even more interesting - an interview with one of the authors, i.e. John Collins (2) (Real Player needed)

A little bit lengthy (and a little bit clumsy as he has not the brilliance of Chomsky, sorry) but well timed and substantial for the actual task of debunking the presently ongoing language patterns of the official political & public discourse - that at least was my first impression from what I've gathered form the scattered info on that book.But still have to read it for a final assessment.

What you think ?



Collateral Language $55.00

A User's Guide to America's New War
Edited by John Collins and Ross Glover
ISBN 081471627X
200 pages
Publication date: 9/15/2002

Also available in Paperback
Click to enlarge

"Words are weapons in our new war, and all citizens are combatants. As a dictionary of post-911 rhetoric, Collateral Language shows us why we need smart books, not smart bombs. Brilliantly conceived, this book defines the axis of intelligence."
—Amitava Kumar author of Passport Photos and Bombay-London-New York

Terrorism, jihad, fundamentalism, blowback. These and other highly charged terms have saturated news broadcasts and everyday conversation since September 11th. But to keen ears their meanings change depending upon who's doing the talking. So what do these words really mean? And what are people trying to say when they use them?

Each of the thirteen essays in Collateral Language offers an informed perspective on a particular word or phrase that serves as a building block in the edifice of post-World Trade Center rhetoric. In some cases this involves a systematic examination of the term in question (e.g. "anthrax" or "unity")its historical roots, the development of its meaning and usage in the U.S. over time, and its employment in the current context. In other cases authors provide a set of more philosophical or autobiographical reflections on a particular idea (e.g. "vital interests" or "evil"), suggesting a need to consider the ethical and moral implications of using the concept uncritically. In every instance, however, the overriding goal is to give the reader a set of practical tools to analyze the political language that surrounds all of us at this critical point in our nation's history.

Witty, informative and highly readable, Collateral Language is a lexicon of political terminology and an indispensable tool for understanding the current conflict.

John Collins is Assistant Professor of Global Studies at St. Lawrence University. Ross Glover is Visiting Professor of Sociology at St. Lawrence University.



Audio at :

Language of war
John Collins — Associate Professor of Global Studies, St. Lawrence University, and co-editor of Collateral Language: A User's Guide to America's New War

-- andreas
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