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April 23, 2013

The Passive-Aggressive Voice: Newest Narrative From the Left and Media (But I Repeat Myself): It Was "Society" to Blame, By Which is Meant Us

The left has an interesting use of "we" and "society."

There should be a name for the use of "we" to mean "you." Husbands and wives employ "we/us" this way-- "We need to fix the gutter" to mean "You have to fix the gutter" or "We have to do something about Child's problem with math" to mean "You're going to have to put Child through drills every night."

It's a variation on the Royal We. The Accusative-Case* We, maybe.

The left considers itself outside society, a critic apart from it, above it, superior to it, as a teacher is above and superior to his students. So any mention of "society" is an attempt to put blame on others. And the "we/us" language is the Accusatory version of the pronoun; they don't mean they themselves.

Have you ever heard someone on the left specifically take responsibility for such a horror? The left could say, for example, "Perhaps by promoting terrorists as icons and to university professorships, we have transmitted the idea that terrorism is acceptable." That would be a real expression of "We're to blame," we including the speaker. The true use of "we."

But of course they never say such things. It's always "We're all to blame, because of various things you and specifically not I are guilty of."

Also note that Melissa Harris-Perry pushes the idea that "we" (by which she means "You") are "Otherizing" the terrorists -- conceiving them as entirely unlike you -- in order to reduce your own culpability for their actions.

Apparently it never occurs to this supposed intellectual that that's precisely what she herself is doing.

Hm: Maybe we can make the different uses of we sound all smart and collegiac and stuff by contrasting the real use of we to mean "a group including myself" as "cis-we" and this rhetorically foul use of "we" to mean "a group specifically not including myself, by which I mean, you" as "trans-we."

* "Bigby's Hearty Handshake" jokes, relying on the fact that there's already an Accusative case in grammar, and since I'm saying "Accusatory" I might as well use that term. So I did.

"Oblig." meanwhile suggests this use of we be called "The Infernal We," to compare with the Royal We. Although I'm not sure that makes a perfect comparative -- what about something like the Proletarian We, which I like especially because they specifically mean that those beneath their vaunted station are the problem.

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posted by Ace at 02:47 PM

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