A War of Words
4 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2012
Date Written: January 29, 2012
Throughout history man has preoccupied and engaged himself in war to resolve his differences with other men. From Homer to present day crises’ like the war in Afghanistan or the conflict in Iraq, honor or the lack there of has often led to armed confrontation. However, before either party ever strikes, one can be sure that both parties will attack one another in a war of words before their differences become physical. Once they’ve reached an impasse, language continues to play an important role in their struggle to out do one another. It became a weapon of propaganda used to psychologically manipulate and control human minds. In World War II Germany often propagandized by telling its populace that complete victory would soon be theirs. Though many belligerents and their opponents use this type of propaganda, today, national leaders use language to soften the impact and effect that the reality of war might otherwise produce.
Carol Cohn’s essay “Wars Wimps and Women” supports, with concrete examples, the idea that language can psychologically soften or hide the reality of war. Cohn shows how the age-old male superiority dogma has effectively inhibited any formal discussion of the inhuman consequence of war by defense intellectuals. She describes instance after instance of gender discourse that suggests that the use of manly language is a more appropriate dialog.
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