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Unformatted text preview: creation of such a national identity,
where every American became a New Yorker, and Mayor Giuliani became the Mayor of America. These reports, although broadcast live on
TV, were framed and directed by the newscasters in such a way as to
report not facts, but the emotional reaction of the participants of the
events. In the reporting, the discourse of courage mingled with the discourse of retaliation. The common denominator of both was the opposition between ‘us’ and ‘them’, which implied that while ‘we’ have all
the positive qualities, ‘they’ have these qualities’ contradictions. The
drive to represent the world in such dichotomous terms, denying a possibility of there being more options than two, was most pronounced in
the publication of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The
ACTA report attacked the American Universities as being unpatriotic,
as not all the professors wholeheartedly supported the call to arms.
Some of the examples taken out of the speeches at campus rallies were
so decontextualised that they became their opposite, so that even those
professors who did support the military intervention were accused of
not doing so.
The economic aspect of war was reflected in the consumerism as
discourse of patriotism. Silberstein (2002: 124) quotes a prominent
comment on this tendency from Margaret Carlson of Time, who wrote:
The Greatest Generation got to save old tires, dig a Victory Garden and
forgo sugar. The richest generation is being asked to shop… The irony of
this strange war is that just as we see the limits of what money can buy,
buying becomes our patriotic duty. Throughout the book, Silberstein shows how rhetorically loaded narratives enable the politicians and the media to foster national unity, to
name and discredit enemies, to hunt the insufficiently patriotic ‘elements’ under the Patriotic Act curtailing civil liberties and, finally, to
transform a shopping spree into an act of patriotism.
Underhill’s (2003) paper focuses on a slightly different issue. It
does not attempt to analyse the discourse effects in the creation of the
19 On the socio-cultural role of metaphors in constructing frames and narratives on
the example of Foot and Mouth Disease reporting in GB see Nerlich, Hamilton and
Rowe (2002). The concept of ‘war’ in the humanities 107 war-supporting narrative, but rather analyses the metaphors, which take
war as their source or target domain. The juxtaposition of two lists of
metaphors leads him to conclude that “when The Economist spoke of
war, it transformed it into something else, e.g. problem solving, surgery
or crime-fighting. Meanwhile, business, international relations, eradicating terrorism, eradicating poverty and even pacifism were all conceived
of in terms of warfare” (Underhill 2003: 135). With regard to the WAR IS
PROBLEM-SOLVING discourse metaphor, he claims that this metaphor is
responsible for the narrowing down of the possible solutions. That is,
once war is seen as a solution to a problem, no other solutions, apart
from war, are considered. The focus is then...
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