The most valuable part of lakoffs interpretation of

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Unformatted text preview: e the dynamic construal of meaning for the concepts of ‘war’ and ‘politics’. In one construal, war would be a subordinate part of politics, in another they would be treated as two separate domains. Only then would defining metaphor as a mapping from one domain to another be rendered void, as the domains would remain in constant flux and could not be clearly determined. Blending Theory (see Chapter One, Section 6)claims that the spaces created in the short term memory for the interpretation or construction of blends (and metaphors) are ad hoc impermanent creations emerging solely for the purpose at hand. Also, Langacker claims that although language is biological in nature, it does not reside in any permanent shape in the brain, but should rather be viewed as a potential for meaning and expression, 104 Chapter III activated when used. Perhaps, then, the problem with WAR IS POLITICS does not reside in the faulty definition of metaphors as a mapping from one domain to another, but with the desire stemming from structural semantics and calling for a discrete delimitation of concepts. Cognitive linguistics has long realised that finite and exhaustive definitions of meaning cannot be achieved if we believe in the dynamic nature of meaning. WAR IS A VIOLENT CRIME is the second metaphor Lakoff posits. It raises doubts similar to the first one. I take both of these metaphors to be literal definitions of war. As evidenced in the survey of interdisciplinary perspectives on war presented above, it can be viewed as a political, economic, cultural and moral phenomenon. Definitions focusing on only one aspect of this complex and multi-faceted concept are incomplete and may be intentionally used to obscure those aspects which are not acceptable to the public opinion, but not all rhetoric is based on conceptual metaphors, though they may probably be activated by both metaphorical and nonmetaphorical linguistic expressions. The most valuable part of Lakoff’s interpretation of the Gulf War rhetoric is his attempt to show the interaction between the POLITICS IS BUSINESS metaphor and the fairy tale scenario. This commercial metaphor reduces quality to quantity and allows us to see killing and mutilation of the enemy as a gain. At the same time, the fairy tale scenario requires the alignment of the subjects of international law, the nation-states, with the fairy tale roles of a hero (in this case the US), the victim (Kuwait) and the villain (Iraq). The major thrust of the scenario, apart from the obvious imperative for the hero to save the victim and punish the villain, is that it represents the two participants of international politics in terms of inherent asymmetry, in which the hero is endowed with all the positive qualities, and the villain with the negative. Such representation, evidenced in the rhetoric used in an attempt to convince the American and world public opinion that the war against Iraq would be a just war, grossly oversimplifies the complex reality, where the major destructive power of the war will be experienced by the innocent Iraqi civilians,...
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