Doc Searls introduced me to Lakoff. Great stuff.
George Lakoff is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, a senior fellow at the progressive think-tank Rockridge Institute, and is the author of “Whose Freedom: The Battle Over America’s Most Important Idea” and a number of other books including a multitude of articles in major scholarly journals and edited volumes, as well as books such as Moral Politics: How Liberals and Conservatives Think, and Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values, Frame the Debate. Dr. Lakoff’s current work discusses the concept of “framing”, both deep frames representing an underlying value structure; for conservatives, the deep frames revolve around strict father morality, and for progressives, the deep frames revolve around a nurturant family morality, and “surface frames”, which, in Dr. Lakoff’s analysis, are the ideas associated with individual words and expressions and which make political sense only given the deep frames. The concept of freedom is one such case. On July 25, 2006, I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Lakoff by telephone. What follows are my interview notes, as corrected where appropriate by Dr. Lakoff.
The Talking Dog: My customary first question is “where were you on 9-11”? I ask that because I happened to be at my then desk at my then job, across the street from the WTC.
George Lakoff: I was at home. I woke up late that day. Someone working in our garden called out “Turn on your t.v. the Towers are down!” My wife and I watched the television; I said “Oh my God! ” and “What Bush will do with this?” I could anticipate what was coming! My wife had the same thought, that the Right would use this to gain overwhelming power.