Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 690. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2020-03-24 11:43:43+00:00 From: Francois Lachance
Subject: Analysis of Metaphor Re: [Humanist] 33.679: we continue Willard Thank you again for pointing us to Sontag. This, on the importance of rhetorical analysis, caught my attention from Susan Sontag in the peroration of AIDS and Its Metaphors (before she launches into a call to retire military analogies in discourses of medicine and public health) ... [quote] For the time being, much in the way of individual experience and social policy depends on the struggle for rhetorical ownership of the illness: how it is possessed, assimilated in argument and in clichÃ©. The age-old, seemingly inexorable process whereby diseases acquire meanings (by coming to stand for the deepest fears) and inflict stigma is always worth challenging, and it does seem to have more limited credibility in the modern world, among people willing to be modern -- the process is under surveillance now. With this illness, one that elicits so much guilt and shame, the effort to detach it from these meanings, these metaphors, seems particularly liberating, even consoling. But the metaphors cannot be distanced just by abstaining from them. They have to be exposed, criticized, belaboured, used up. [/quote] And so at this juncture one finds voices https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/against-the-coronavirus-as-metaphor (Against) Virus as Metaphor By Paul Elie The New Yorker March 19, 2020 [quote] As the interpretive idea of the epidemic took hold - spread, we would say - we learned of the wisdom of crowds, the value of indiscriminate sharing, and the power of friction-free networks through which information moved seemingly unhindered. [/quote] But we also learned from the realms of pop psychology about the qualities of the introvert.... Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain But back to the peroration of Paul Elie's editorial: [quote] Our own situation is different, but not unrelated. Rather than applying societal metaphors to illness, we've applied illness metaphors to society, stripping them of their malign associations in the process. It may be that our fondness for virus as metaphor has made it difficult for us to see viruses as potentially dangerous, even lethal, biological phenomena. In turn, our disinclination to see viruses as literal may have kept us from insisting on and observing the standards and practices that would prevent their spread. Enthralled with virus as metaphor and the terms associated with it - spread, growth, reach, connectedness - we ceased to be vigilant. Jetting around the world, we stopped washing our hands. [/quote] Those of us that garden know about washing hands... Those that care for children, those that care for the incontinent... That "we" needs be be unpacked: exposed, criticized, belaboured: who does what work and why it matters. Francois Lachance Scholar-at-large http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance https://berneval.hcommons.org to think is often to sort, to store and to shuffle: humble, embodied tasks _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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