Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The importance of the lexicographic war (Zvi)

From Zvi, commenting on my post about the bizarre word "spacio-cide" where I wrote that "Creating a ridiculous anti-Israel word (much like "pinkwashing" or "homonationalism") is apparently the newest trend among pseudo-academics":

In each of these areas, Israelis have actually made a compelling case, and these attempts to create buzzwords are part of a frantic defensive play by Israel-haters. The latter are "throwing things against the wall in the hope that something will stick."

On the other hand, advocates for Israel need to understand what these people are doing. Terminology is important. Simply giving something a name can make it appear real, even if it's 100% nonsense. "Pinkwashing" is 100% crap, but the fact that a name has been created allows Israel-haters to talk about it as though it were a real phenomenon. This is one of the reasons why it is very important to stop blindly using the terminology created by Israel's enemies; that terminology was created in order to instill hatred.

On the other hand, very real phenomena that have no name are hard to talk about, requiring lots and lots of words. It is important to name concepts so that they can be more readily communicated.< br />

It is also important to prevent anti-Semites from hijacking terminology (such as "anti-Semitism") and trying to either destroy its meaning or hijack its emotional impact for their own malicious purposes.

Terminology matters. If a person is a terrorist, call them a terrorist, not a militant or an activist. If a person publishes anti-Semitic screeds, call him an anti-Semite and be prepared to defend your claim vigorously. If nonsense terms are made up ("pinkwashing", "spacio-cide"), then respond with mocking derision (but always be 100% truthful). When bigoted morons write pseudoacademic papers that wrap ludicrous claims in pseudoacademic terminology, they should be exposed as the third-rate hacks and frauds that they are.