November 03, 2003

Linguistic punditocracy: the Rockridge Institute

At last there is (as Paul Postal recently pointed out to me) a liberal think-tank, the Rockridge Institute, to go up against all those conservative institutes and centers in Washington DC that can always provide a Senior Research Associate to talk authoritatively on National Public Radio about the right-wing view on absolutely anything, or to write an op-ed piece for the morning newspapers explaining why the conservatives are right. I always thought we linguists were forever to be denied the delights of Senior Research Associatehood, and it would always be the law faculty and politics profs who would get the talking head assignments. But surprisingly, the Rockridge taxis out onto the runway with a rock-ribbed linguist on the flight deck: George Lakoff is at the heart of it, with his ideas about how conservatives are winning all the battles for linguistic reasons -- they design all the metaphors for framing political discussion. Check out the interview with Lakoff that the UC Berkeley news service has posted.

The Rockridge has the right address for liberal credentials: it's in Berkeley, California. But that has the disadvantage of putting it three thousand miles away from NPR, and three time zones behind Washington, which may mean the conservatives will continue to be ahead. He laughs last who gets to talk on the phone to Bob Edwards first.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at November 3, 2003 12:07 AM