Ready for a new video series that drills down in-depth on not just the issues but also the philosophical crises that undergird them? Want to get an intelligent, in-depth overview of the challenges facing the country and the Right?
And how about spending time each week with a well-known star of the screen who has real insight into cultural issues and how they play out in America?
Welcome back to my VIP video series “The Amiable Skeptics,” featuring my friend Adam Baldwin! Adam is well-known for his long and storied Hollywood career, starting with My Bodyguard, and especially for his roles in Full Metal Jacket, Firefly, its film sequel Serenity, Chuck, and The Last Ship.
What role does language and linguistics play in American politics? Adam and I delve deeply into that subject in part one of this week’s video show. We discuss the language of exclusion, the creation of a Beltway clerisy through the enforcement of language convention, why outsiders often run afoul of the establishment by speaking plainly, and more.
It comes up more in part two of this week’s episode, which should go up on Monday, but both Adam and I refer to this excellent Bruno Waterfield essay in spiked! that ran earlier this week:
Orwell was concerned above all about the particular threat posed by totalitarianism to words and language. He was concerned about the threat it posed to our ability to think and speak freely and truthfully. About the threat it posed to our freedom.
He saw, clearly and vividly, that to lose control of words is to lose control of meaning. That is what frightened him about the totalitarianism of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia – these regimes wanted to control the very linguistic substance of thought itself.
There’s plenty on which we chew in part one. Enjoy, and as always, feel free to weigh in through the comments!