Thursday, April 7, 2011


A few years back, Republican political consultant and pollster Frank Luntz (rhymes with "cunts")  published a massive "how to" tome instructing his clients on the art of propaganda through linguistic hijacking. Of particular interest was the book's appendix, entitled The Fourteen Words Never To Use, which was a document Luntz originally prepared for Congressional spouses, in order that they might, quote: "STOP saying words and phrases that undermine your ability to educate the American people."

The following is yer old pal Jerky's analysis and critique of Luntz's work.

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Government"
Luntzian Alternative: "Washington"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: The geographic location of the nation's capital city is inconsequential. The American government is made up of its elected officials and bureaucrats, not its office buildings and monuments.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "The Powers That Be"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Privatization/Private Accounts"
Luntzian Alternative: "Personalization/Personal Accounts"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: Conservatives only stopped calling their ridiculous Social Security scheme "privatization" late last year when polling showed that the American people were dead-set against it. Now, they insist that everyone follow their nomenclatural lead or be attacked as liberal-biased obstructionist saboteurs. But there's nothing "personal" about handing over federally-collected funds to private, for-profit investment gamblers whose only guarantee is that they'll take their cut whether you win or lose, and use a percentage of their earnings to bribe more politicians to pass more bad legislation to put even more money into their already overflowing pockets.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Lock Box Looting"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Foreign Trade"
Luntzian Alternative: "International Trade"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: What's the fucking difference?!
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Bargain Hunting"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Health Care choice"
Luntzian Alternative: "The Right to Choose"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: Again, I have to ask… what's the fucking difference?!
Daily Dirt Alternative: "H.M.O.B.S."

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Drilling for oil"
Luntzian Alternative: "Exploring for energy"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: The only way Luntz's clients want to "explore" is in a downward direction, through the Earth's crust, with a diamond-tipped drill bit. And the only "energy" they're interested in is the combustible dinosaur soup us simple folk call "oil." So let's put away the fucking Thesaurus, shall we?
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Raping Mother Nature's Asshole"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Tort Reform"
Luntzian Alternative: "Lawsuit Abuse Reform"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: According to the Constitution, the responsibility of determining whether or not a lawsuit constitutes abuse of the legal system falls upon a jury of the litigant's peers. The Republican obsession with tort reform can thus be seen in its proper context as a natural extension of the broader conservative contempt for the American people.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Pre-emptive Absolution"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Trial Lawyer"
Luntzian Alternative: "Predatory Personal Injury Lawyer"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: See above.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "A Necessary Evil"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Corporate Transparency"
Luntzian Alternative: "Corporate Accountability"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: Without transparency, true accountability is impossible. Unless, of course, you're willing to take Bernie Madoff at his word.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Transparent Accountability"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "School Choice"
Luntzian Alternative: "Parental Choice/Equal Opportunity in Education"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: Parents are already free to send their kids to private schools, religious indoctrination schools or hippie "alternative" schools if they so choose. They can even teach their kids at home if they want, despite this practice often leading to nervous breakdowns and the occasional bathtub murder. But taking cash out of the already under-funded public education system to bankroll the efforts of those who want to protect their children from "indoctrination" (by indoctrinating them in a different way) constitutes the polar fucking opposite of equal opportunity in education.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Faith-based Kickbacks"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Tax Reform"
Luntzian Alternative: "Tax Simplification"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: Whenever conservatives talk about simplifying the tax code, what they really mean is the elimination of taxes on anything other than goods, services and labor income. That the simplest taxation methods -- the flat tax, a national sales tax, etc -- happen to be the easiest for wealthy Republican donors to circumvent is surely no coincidence. Everybody's gotta buy food and clothing. Only the chosen few earn capital gains.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Vertical Wealth Shift"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Inheritance/Estate Tax"
Luntzian Alternative: "The Death Tax"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: Even the wealthiest dead cannot be taxed. On the other hand, the inheritors of their estates can, and should, be taxed at a far greater rate than they currently are. America was never meant to become a den of dynastic, hereditary elites. Cream rises of its own accord.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "The Paris Hilton Toll"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Globalization"
Luntzian Alternative: "Free Market Economy"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: Luntz's disdain for his fellow citizens here is radiant. Americans don't like globalization, he claims, not because they can follow its inexorable logic after having suffered the already dire consequences of its inglorious beginnings, but because it "represents something big, something distant and something foreign." The poor dumb sheep are simply afraid, you see. And, like little children recoiling at the sight of an immunization needle, their fear renders them incapable of deciding what's best for them.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Third-Worldification"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Outsourcing"
Luntzian Alternative: "Taxation, Regulation, Litigation Innovation, Education"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: When confronted with a no-win topic, what should the smart Republican do? Change the subject! Instead of defending or pledging to curb the shipping of American jobs overseas, he should urge his questioners to help elect him so that he may do everything in his power to make America a more attractive place for American companies to do business, like China, Indonesia and Haiti.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Economic Treason"

*** **** ***
Forbidden Word: "Undocumented Workers/Immigration Reform"
Luntzian Alternative: "Illegal Aliens/Border Security"
Why the Alternative is Bullshit: If it wasn't for the greedy elite practice of reverse outsourcing -- importing so-called guest workers to do back-breaking labor for less than minimum wage -- this might be more of a legitimate concern. In any case, giving Texas back to Mexico would likely have an extremely salutary effect upon the national character, and should be gotten over with sooner than later.
Daily Dirt Alternative: "Aztlan Repopulation"

(originally published in the Daily Dirt some time in 2005, with minor changes for this repeat- YOPJ)

1 comment:

  1. I remember this -- it still comes up now and again in my everyday life as I spin my wheels trying to figure out how mind control works.

    My first loyalty is to the Dirt, but I kind of like this one as well. I'll be visiting more frequently.