Sirota's a blogger -- here's his blog -- and Harshaw speculates about the general problem of a blogger writing a book:
Perhaps it’s unavoidable when a blogger tries to write at length, but the verbal mannerisms that may seem like an invigorating shot of espresso on a brief daily basis become a bathtub of stale Nescafé when stretched out to more than 300 pages. The clichéd revolutionary language (political TV programs offer “a flood of Orwellian messages from the Establishment that deny the existence of our very own beliefs”), the wafer-thin allusions to popular culture (a single paragraph includes references to Rocky Balboa’s trainer, Luke Skywalker’s light saber and Superman’s Fortress of Solitude) and the childish taunts (Tom DeLay is “slime”; Mickey Kantor, who served as Bill Clinton’s trade representative, is a “hack”) quickly become oppressive.But blogging should be good writing, not something that just looks good because it's short. And I love books where every sentence counts, and you never feel it could have been put more concisely. It might be oppressive to have to read straight through a book that is full of snappy sentences, but I'm not so sure books like Sirota's are meant to be read through. Maybe you are supposed to open them at random and read a bracing passage, and then pick it up again later and do the same. The discipline of the book reviewer is not the casual practice of the reader of popular nonfiction. Actually, when I see these political books laid out on the front tables at Borders, I get the impression they are designed primarily to get people to make a purchase to express their identity. You don't need to read them at all.
Lakoff’s a linguist who got a lot of attention in the last election for telling Democrats to concentrate on language, especially his favorite term "framing."
His suggestions included renaming the national debt the “baby tax,” calling income taxes “membership fees” and referring to trial lawyers as “public-protection attorneys.” Remarkable that John Kerry largely ignored him and still came within one state of the White House.Ha ha. About his new book:
Lakoff uses a parenting metaphor to explain the worldviews that produce these anathematic ideas of liberty: progressive thought stems from the “nurturant parent family” model (based on “empathy and responsibility”), while the conservative outlook is shaped by the “strict father family” model (in which the “moral authority . . . of the father must not be seriously challenged”).I guess that's better than saying the mommy party and the daddy party. He's letting men in on the Democratic feeling with that "nuturant parent" business. (Oh, yeah, he's framing.) But doesn't the traditional father model ascribed to Republicans involve more personal responsibility than the mother... I mean nurturer... model? You can frame responsiblity over to the liberal side if you're talking about what government will do for you as opposed to how the party perceives the individual.
Anyway, Harshaw observes that Lakoff seems not to know any actual conservatives.
Reading about Lakoff's book made me want to make sure you were aware of this lovely little book.