Semantic War in the Culture War

I have good friend back in my hometown of Kingston, Ontario.  I’m the Godfather to his eldest son and he is the Godfather to my eldest daughter.  They have a modest sized family – 7 kids.  I received an e-mail from him today letting me know that they are expecting their eighth child.  They’re pretty excited about it too.  I have a small family – just four children, so I am little envious of his announcement.

Much of war is not won on the ground, but in the air, so to speak: in the propaganda and the language we use.  It was ever thus.  It is no different in the culture war. In fact, it’s even more relevant.  The pro-abort side was successful in manipulating the language of abortion to their advantage and it had disastrous consequences for the West.  You know what I mean, I’m sure:  pro-choice, interruption of pregnancy, clump of cells, etc. etc.  All the typical lies.

In the popular culture, of course, you’ll notice that various forms of entertainment and even business media define a “family” as usually no more than a mother, father, one son and one daughter. That’s it and no more.  It’s the so-called “million dollar” family.  Next time you see a commercial that features a family, pay attention to the family size portrayed.

That’s how they subtly redefine our perceptions and our “standards” of what a family should be.  Well, we need to use our own form of semantic warfare as well.  If you’ll notice above in my opening paragraph, I used the word “modest” to describe the size of my friend’s family of eight children.  I used the word “small” to describe my own six person family.  The underlying theme you want to communicate, of course, is that eight kids is “normal” and anything less is “small”.  It’s a subtle way of getting them to reflect on just where they are in their own lives.  You want them asking this kind of rhetorical question:  “If 4 is small, what does that say about us, DINKS?  We don’t even have any kids, except a cat and a dog. Maybe there’s something wrong with our relationship.”

Remember to keep a straight face.

One thought on “Semantic War in the Culture War

  1. As the father of five kids aged 8 to 35, I can only say what I have observed. Our culture has become “pro-child” while simultaneously becoming “anti-childhood”. And that is a genuine pity. People who have been robbed of childhood become, as we can clearly see, unhappy, whining, underperforming people drunk on self-esteem and their personal sense of entitlement. Big families have inherent advantages IF Mom and Dad are intellectually and emotionally awake and engaged.

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