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Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy Paperback – May 1, 2008
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About the Author
More About the Author
I hold a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology, teach college classes, and blog everyday.
Top Customer Reviews
I've read Feldman for years on Daily Kos and elsewhere, and am always fascinated by the precise logic, crisp writing, and powerful "framing" that he brings to bear on just about any political subject.
Now, Feldman devotes a book to taking on leading "conservatives" like Ann Coulter, Dinesh D'Souza, James Dobson, Wayne LaPierre, Pat Buchanan, and Bill O'Reilly. Honestly, it's hard to know which of these characters is the worst, as Feldman lays out a strong case for why each is particularly heinous in their own unique and wondrous way.
Thus, LaPierre frames everything in terms of violence, the ever-present threat of violence, and the utter inability of law, government, or collective institutions of any kind to protect us from that (essentially inevitable) violence. Flowing from that bizarre worldview comes the only possible conclusion: you're on your own, they're coming to harm you, and you'd better be armed to the teeth when they do. As Feldman explains, "What LaPierre suggests is...a full-scale military escalation of civil society." Just as bad, LaPierre boils everything down to a false dichotomy -- a common strategy of right-wing political language - in which the only two choices are either "(A) we allow individuals the "right to carry" guns or (B) we allow criminals to make victims of more and more Americans." That's it, end of discussion. Which, come to think of it, is exactly what the Wayne LaPierres of the world wanted in the first place. How convenient.Read more ›
That's why concerned citizens should read Outrageous Barbarous by Jeffrey Feldman: to know the extent of the right wing's reckless hyperbole, to understand why using language that "takes no prisoners" bullies the rest of us from thoughtful dialogue on paramount problems, and gives us insight on how to counter those efforts without resorting to the same tactics, or abridging anyone's speech.
Feldman's book is an excellent and clear essay on violent rhetoric as carefully documented on seven or eight key issues - rhetoric so extravagant and voluminous that it sweeps against the public like recurring tsunamis, and, like them, washes away collected reasoning and dry wit.
There are several key thoughts like `community', `pragmatism' and `common good' that Feldman develops to great advantage, but none so clarifying and poignant to describe that which is lacking in the right wing barrage as the word, 'deliberative'.
Recapturing the process of putting one foot ahead of another is this wonderful concept of deliberating, and the author shares some of his reasoned ideas in returning us to a deliberative process. A must read for those still reeling from Rambo rhetoric and for those who want to take steps for a "kinder, gentler America."
We progressives have all sensed it, in various ways. Many on OpEdNews have complained about the excesses of Ann Coulter. I have written about Republican Rage. Now, Jeffrey Feldman, author of Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Change the Conversation (and Win Elections), and editor of the blog, Frameshop, uses his background in Cultural Anthropology to take on the violent rhetoric of the Right straight on. In Outright Barbarous: How the Violent Language of the Right Poisons American Democracy, Feldman takes us through the endless supply of violent metaphors offered up to us by the likes of Coulter, as well as Pat Buchanan, James Dobson, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, Bill O'Reilly, Jon Gibson, and Dinesh D'Souza.
Along with the liberal use of terms like "war" and "murder," Feldman shows how Right-wing pundits use their violent terminology in the service of bizarre theories that turn history on its head. Thus, we "learn" that:
* Raising children with guns is the key to fighting school shootings;
* Mexicans crossing the border are motivated - not by economic necessity - but by revenge for the loss of Texas!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A law professor should be familiar with proximate cause. Feldman couldn't receive a JD without demonstrating that comprehension. Thus, his thesis is dishonest. Read morePublished 13 months ago by J
Apparently the left wing writers including Feldman have never listened to the hateful & violent rhetoric spewed out on a daily basis from people like Keith Olberman, Chris... Read morePublished on August 28, 2010 by Blue Boy
A very interesting and disturbing review of how democracy is being lost by hateful and twisted dialogue.Published on February 7, 2010 by nicho girl "Delores"