Dear Josie: On Weasel Words

October 21, 2016

Dear Josie,

On the very off-chance I don't get a chance to barrage you about this a thousand times, here's a lesson on weasel words. Take a look at

Mailer front

Always be suspicious when politicians or advertisers (if there's still a difference) don't say what they mean or aren't exacting in their words. Consider "standing up for women's health care" and "No woman should be denied access to health care". What issue could this possibly be about? It can't be about Universal Health Care: that applies to men and children in addition to adult women. The access issues about women's health in 2016 are abortion in particular and whether the government funds Planned Parenthood in general and that's essentially a proxy for the argument about abortion: while Planned Parenthood provides a number of services for women the political discourse makes it sound like a drive-thru for abortion.

Freedom of choice is important not so much because everybody loves to have abortions but because it represents freedom from patriarchy and is arguably a necessity for gender equality. So talking about things like "women's health care" instead of saying "I am for/ against abortion access" is a clever lie to try to attract undecided voters. When in doubt, go with a trustworthy jerk over a clever liar. Speaking of which (which is a favorite phrase of yours right now because you can't figure out when to use it):

Mailer back

"Access to over-the-counter birth control" doesn't mean shit. I have access to Fabergé eggs; all I need to do is stump up the tens of millions of dollars to buy one. "Access" is a wonderful weasel word. All it promises is the item in question won't be rounded up and fired into space. But at least she's for Planned Parenthood, right? "Funding for community health centers that provide women's health care" is a long way away from "I support centers that provide abortion information or abortion access". Those centers can be anything, including religious-based centers that do the opposite of what she's trying to position herself as in this mailing to women.

In short, down with people who won't say what they mean and down with Kelly Ayotte.

Previously: Upgrading Django | After this: A Dog Who's Lost Its Bite | All Posts
Tagged: offtopic josie