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Slate Political Forum: funny metaphors at live Political Gabfest

May 25, 2012

This past Wednesday, Slate’s Political Gabfest (John Dickerson, Emily Bazelon and David Plotz) did a live session at the Sixth and I historic Synagogue in Washington DC and it aired on C-SPAN today where I saw a bit of it.

“one of the awesome things about the c-span archive you can look up any event” John Dickerson said during the forum and it’s true for this forum itself – Slate Political Forum video available at the C-span web archive

zombie slate political gabfest

Dickerson referred to the upcoming “Zombie Congress”, and later of uses the phrase “clown show”, while Bazelon suggests it’s time we are going to have to cut the “French” “Sociology” departments. And Dickerson says “I lost you at panopticon” suggesting it’s part of a medieval role-playing game.

Plotz suggests taxes have become theological, that there’s a visceral racial white rage that would elect a carpet over Obama. Plotz also used the term “samurai sword” to imply cutting-edge intellectualism.

As an aside: I want to follow-up on “samurai swords” in political rhetoric at some point (will probably write about it on NinjaLaw in the future) – But also note this recent article from the Australian: “Follow way of the samurai to find the guns” suggesting that “samurai swords” (and the reptile pet, gila monsters) are linked to illegal guns and drugs (I personally suspect this is a rhetorical effect in language of legal writing more than an actual behavioral correlation but who knows, maybe it’s both, it’s certainly a well-known Hollywood stereotype to connect such swords and reptiles to drugs and guns.)

Meanwhile, Bazelon also takes note that Dickerson’s use of the word “minority” may no longer be the right term (what do we call Minorities when they are the majority, or when there is no clear majority, or, well we need new words)
Dickerson suggests the message is: “non-whiteness, Other, urban, not what they grew up with”
Bazelon adds: “dispossessed”

Later, Dickerson chides Plotz for being “animated by a depressing topic” – Plotz finds it “cathartic” – Dickerson: “good lord what preparation you would do for the plague”

And finally, hurrah to John Dickerson for mentioning David Foster Wallace!!! Best graduation speech ever. “What is Water?!” And then he killed himself only a few years later. I personally prefer his 2004 Gourmet magazine consideration of lobster. But Dickerson’s point is that we are all deluded and not trust ourselves so arrogantly.


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