in this age of rhetoric

whilst listening to the radio in the week i got to thinking about rhetoric. one of the subjects on the phone-in was this billboard which has been put up in merthyr by PETA. i got very angry and annoyed at the idiot woman from PETA trying (and miserably failing) to defend comparing feeding a child meat products was the same as child abuse (see very angry tweets from yesterday).

i’m not saying that the PETA billboard is going to cause gun crime or is going to be actually taken seriously by anyone with half a brain; i’m simply trying to link together the problematic use of fiery rhetoric and the problem of the use of words.

using words or a phrase like “child abuse” or “exploitation” is very serious. incredibly serious and words like that should not be thrown around for the sake of attracting media attention (clearly this is why PETA used the phrase on the billboard – for attracting media attention for their single issue obsessions). to use a phrase like “child abuse” in relation to something as tiny and insignificant as feeding a child meat is not only ridiculouse but also significantly demeans and cheapens those people who have been subject to child abuse. it also means that any sane person who looks at your campaign or in this case billboard will not engage with your issues or your arguments but will (and rightly so) reject them out of hand because of your stupid use of rhetoric and poor choice of words.

people who use phrases like this to simply attract media attention for their campaigns are not only be offensive but obtuse.

rant over. but i’m sure i’ll return to the issue.