Association > Definition

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Association > Definition

This post isn’t really about pol­i­tics, but I need to use a cou­ple of illus­tra­tions from the polit­i­cal world in order to flesh out today’s topic, so please bear with.

Back in the dawn of antiq­uity known as 2009, shortly after Barack Obama assumed his duties as Pres­i­dent the annual CPAC con­ven­tion took place in Wash­ing­ton DC. CPAC is a mas­sive gath­er­ing of con­ser­v­a­tive folk from all realms. Its pri­mary func­tions are lis­ten­ing to lots of speeches, net­work­ing, schmooz­ing, par­ty­ing, and … um, that’s about it.

What made the 2009 con­ven­tion quite notice­able for con­ser­v­a­tives regard­less of whether they attend­ing was Rush Limbaugh’s keynote address. In it, he lam­basted, lam­pooned, and pretty much let it all hang out in lay­ing into Obama’s pro­posed poli­cies and plat­forms. One of Limbaugh’s phrases imme­di­ately became a hot take haven for hot debate when he said in regard to Obama, “I hope he fails.”

This instan­ta­neously divided con­ser­v­a­tive pun­ditry, at the time pri­mar­ily blog­gers, into two camps. One, typ­ing one-​handed as the other firmly clutched pearls so tightly the oys­ters yelled ouch, decried Limbaugh’s dearth of deco­rum for while there were polit­i­cal, philo­soph­i­cal, and pol­icy dif­fer­ences between them and the newly inau­gu­rated Pres­i­dent, wish­ing for him to fail was tan­ta­mount to wish­ing for the coun­try to fail. The lat­ter chuck­led at this hyper­bole, point­ing out how the for­mer both over­es­ti­mated any given President’s abil­ity to affect the country’s direc­tion and com­pletely missed Limbaugh’s point, that being his hope Obama’s poli­cies would be dis­as­trous to the level of open­ing eyes how his way was not the best way for the United States. It was a clas­sic case of word inter­pre­ta­tion ver­sus strict definition.

Skip­ping ahead to today, much has been of left­ist and media (par­don the redun­dancy) dar­ling Alexan­dria Ocasio-​Cortez label­ing fed­eral hold­ing cen­ters for those attempt­ing ille­gal entry into the United States con­cen­tra­tion camps, when chal­lenged on using such ter­mi­nol­ogy dou­bling down by insist­ing the def­i­n­i­tion was cor­rect. While in the present cli­mate accus­ing who­ever in pol­i­tics one dis­likes of being lit­er­ally Hitler is sadly com­mon­place, repeat­edly using a term for­ever iden­ti­fied with the Holo­caust can only be inter­preted as inten­tional, child­ish, utterly insen­si­tive provocation.

What Ocasio-​Cortez is deter­minedly miss­ing via repeated asser­tions that the def­i­n­i­tion of con­cen­tra­tion camp accu­rately describes these facil­i­ties she abhors is word asso­ci­a­tion trumps (no pun intended) word def­i­n­i­tion. Exam­ples: think of two three-​letter words, one defined as happy — rhymes with day — and one defined as a slang term for a cig­a­rette, it rhyming with bag. Would you use either attached to those def­i­n­i­tions today? No. Why? Com­mon sense. A more benign exam­ple is how in recent times ‘going viral’ has mor­phed from mean­ing imple­men­ta­tion of a multi-​stage ad cam­paign start­ing with no direct men­tion of the pro­moted ser­vices or goods, the hope being there would be suf­fi­cient “what’s it about” buzz gen­er­ated to cre­ate and sus­tain inter­est until the cam­paign con­cluded with a reveal, to some­thing or some­one gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity via social media with­out ben­e­fit of main­stream media expo­sure. One would think Ocasio-​Cortez, being very much a cul­tural child of today, would be aware of such things. How­ever, we live in a world where polit­i­cal debate has long since de-​evolved into school­yard taunts and “they started it” cries, so using a label iden­ti­fied with Auschwitz and Dachau to iden­tify noth­ing of the sort for no dis­cernible rea­son save naked hated of the cur­rent Pres­i­dent should sur­prise no one even as it should, but will not, sad­den everyone.

One can only pray for no more.

https://​youtu​.be/​g​x​S​-​Q​K​tnEYo

This post isn’t really about politics, but I need to use a couple of illustrations from the political world in order to flesh out today’s topic, so please bear with.

Back in the dawn of antiquity known as 2009, shortly after Barack Obama assumed his duties as President the annual CPAC convention took place in Washington DC. CPAC is a massive gathering of conservative folk from all realms. Its primary functions are listening to lots of speeches, networking, schmoozing, partying, and … um, that’s about it.

What made the 2009 convention quite noticeable for conservatives regardless of whether they attending was Rush Limbaugh’s keynote address. In it, he lambasted, lampooned, and pretty much let it all hang out in laying into Obama’s proposed policies and platforms. One of Limbaugh’s phrases immediately became a hot take haven for hot debate when he said in regard to Obama, “I hope he fails.”

This instantaneously divided conservative punditry, at the time primarily bloggers, into two camps. One, typing one-handed as the other firmly clutched pearls so tightly the oysters yelled ouch, decried Limbaugh’s dearth of decorum for while there were political, philosophical, and policy differences between them and the newly inaugurated President, wishing for him to fail was tantamount to wishing for the country to fail. The latter chuckled at this hyperbole, pointing out how the former both overestimated any given President’s ability to affect the country’s direction and completely missed Limbaugh’s point, that being his hope Obama’s policies would be disastrous to the level of opening eyes how his way was not the best way for the United States. It was a classic case of word interpretation versus strict definition.

Skipping ahead to today, much has been of leftist and media (pardon the redundancy) darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez labeling federal holding centers for those attempting illegal entry into the United States concentration camps, when challenged on using such terminology doubling down by insisting the definition was correct. While in the present climate accusing whoever in politics one dislikes of being literally Hitler is sadly commonplace, repeatedly using a term forever identified with the Holocaust can only be interpreted as intentional, childish, utterly insensitive provocation.

What Ocasio-Cortez is determinedly missing via repeated assertions that the definition of concentration camp accurately describes these facilities she abhors is word association trumps (no pun intended) word definition. Examples: think of two three-letter words, one defined as happy – rhymes with day – and one defined as a slang term for a cigarette, it rhyming with bag. Would you use either attached to those definitions today? No. Why? Common sense. A more benign example is how in recent times ‘going viral’ has morphed from meaning implementation of a multi-stage ad campaign starting with no direct mention of the promoted services or goods, the hope being there would be sufficient “what’s it about” buzz generated to create and sustain interest until the campaign concluded with a reveal, to something or someone gaining popularity via social media without benefit of mainstream media exposure. One would think Ocasio-Cortez, being very much a cultural child of today, would be aware of such things. However, we live in a world where political debate has long since de-evolved into schoolyard taunts and “they started it” cries, so using a label identified with Auschwitz and Dachau to identify nothing of the sort for no discernible reason save naked hated of the current President should surprise no one even as it should, but will not, sadden everyone.

One can only pray for no more.