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Unformatted text preview: were so conscious of the techniques of language
use and propaganda that they knew that denying a frame activates it just
24 See Lakoff (2003) ‘Don’t think of an elephant’ task and his discussion about the
framing of political discourse by means of conceptual metaphors. 154 Chapter IV The dangerous snake label seems to be far less ritualistic and is
creatively elaborated, as shown in (77) below:
(77) Mr John Browne (Winchester, C): In the near future terrorist overlords like Gaddafi will be in a position to dispatch atomic bombs, if
not by missile then in the cargo holds of scheduled civilian aircraft.
In view of such a threat, there is a clear duty on our leaders to act
with fortitude. It is extremely unwise merely to tease a dangerous
snake. It should either be left alone or killed.
Here a conservative MP uses the conceptual metaphor in its typical function25 of creating a frame of reference within which what applies to dangerous snakes should be applied to people. Here the choice of metaphor
determines the choice of the solution.
The animal abuse term was also used about the British Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher, when she was called the President’s [Mr
Reagan’s] poodle. However, in her interview for the BBC radio World
This Weekend reported in The Times she overcame the reference frame
she was being placed within by her critics and said:
(78) ‘I don’t think I would make a very good poodle, and I am not,’ she
said. ‘I might be more a sort of a bulldog.’
Then she proposed her own frame and added:
(79) ‘There is no question of dancing to someone else’s tune. We looked
at the tune and we agreed that it should be played.’
In this way she showed her high command of rhetorical skills, an ability
to reframe political discourse to her own advantage.
The animal labels did not exhaust the repertoire of enemy vilification, which also included reference to insanity, when President Reagan
was reported to have called Colonel Gaddafi a mad dog; and Colonel
Gaddafi was reported to have referred to Mr Reagan and Mrs Thatcher as
that crazy man and that crazy woman.
25 This function of conceptual metaphor has been investigated at length by Schön
(1993). He calls this type of metaphor generative metaphor. A qualitative analysis of war news 155 It was accusations of excessive emotionality, though, which appeared consistently in the texts:
(80) …Europeans dislike the Gaddafi regime, abhor and condemn terrorism and wish to take firm measures against it, but (that) launching
military strikes against Tripoli would be ‘emotional and liable to
lead to further terrorist acts in West Europe’, as one official put it.
Mr Cyril Townsend (Bexleyheath, C): Most of the recent terrorist
incidents involving the Middle East are due to the Abu Nidal group
rather than Libya. Many of us are deeply troubled by her uncritical
support for the US which has grossly over-reacted to provocation.
Does she not agree that over-reaction would only fuel terrorism,
bitterness and bloodshed?
Mr Jack Ashley (Stoke-on-Trent South Lab): No country in the
world has a better record for firm, intelligent and calculated responses to terrorism than we have. It is therefore incredible, in the
light of that record, that she should associate us with the emotional
spasm by President Reagan.
West Germany is also urging Washington to desist from ‘emotional’
In examples in (80) emotionality is contrasted with firm, intelligent and
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