Sunday, June 04, 2017

Disaster Branding: The Importance of Naming-- Guest Post By George Lakoff


Donald Trump knows the power of branding and actually make huge profits by selling the use of his name. But the power of naming and branding can be a double-edged sword: when a president creates and perpetuates real human disasters, we can truthfully attach his name to them and allow well-earned disaster branding to spread naturally.

Mr. Trump uses the word "disaster" metaphorically for policies and practices he doesn’t like. But there are real, literal disasters in the world: huge fires, devastating, floods, deadly storms, major droughts-- disasters caused systemically by the heating of the earth’s atmosphere and its effects in the global weather system.

The Paris Accords are a worldwide, scientifically-governed effort to reverse the heating of earth’s atmosphere and so to reverse its literal disastrous effects-- effects that kill, can start wars, and cost trillions.

When President Trump pulled America out of that worldwide effort, he showed that politics can have deadly systemic effects as well, like significantly slowing efforts to reverse these effects and allowing real climate disasters to get worse.

Political and corporate leaders in America-- governors, mayors, CEOs-- have pledged to act as if the United States were still part of the world community effort of the Paris Accords. There are substantive things they can do collectively, and they deserve praise for their moral courage and good sense to go on in the face of the powerful opposition of the Trump Administration.

But we need not feel powerless in the face of the Trump government. The citizens of the United States have a power beyond the ballot box: the power of naming, and of disaster branding. Acting together, we can give a brand name to all those major fires, storms, floods, and droughts perpetuated and caused by Mr. Trump’s actions against the worldwide effort to end those disasters.

Name the major disasters after the person most responsible for perpetuating and causing new ones in the future. When sea-level rise floods Florida, or when atmospheric heating produces massive evaporation over the Pacific that blows north and east resulting in huge floods throughout the Midwest, name them Trump flood disasters. When continued atmospheric heating systemically leads to massive fires in Texas, name them Trump fire disasters. When the heating of the Gulf of Mexico above historic norms leads to extra strong hurricanes, name them Trump hurricanes and name their effects Trump devastation. When the systemic effects of unusual atmospheric heating lead to a drought, with water shortages and agricultural loss, name it a Trump drought.

We are not used to using the power that millions of ordinary people have to name what is harming them and their planet and the futures of their children and grandchildren. But the time has come to use that power. Just say it.

If such Trump disaster branding becomes viral, it will illustrate the seriousness of the Trump’s Administration’s opposition to addressing the devastation caused by the heating of the earth’s atmosphere. Environmental activists have struggled to convince the public of the urgency of global warming disasters. But by withdrawing from the Paris Accords, Mr. Trump has created such a deadly situation that an unusual measure is called for. We must name the person most responsible. It’s time for disaster branding-- associating real disasters that Trump is responsible for perpetuating or creating with the Trump brand.

All that is necessary is speech-- free speech guaranteed by the Constitution. We don't have to march in protest, or engage in civil disobedience, or do anything the least bit violent. You just have to say the words. There is power in naming.

Labels: ,


At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dog took two trumps today. But I'm a good citizen. I picked them both up.

At 1:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just what we need, more of the increasingly popular "liberal" tactic of politics by name-calling.

This new installment, while easy, fun and superficially reassuring, will be as ineffective/counter-productive as the "deplorables" angle.

This tactic is a self-defeating metaphor for the REAL problem, those who understand/accept climate change, but blithely think that the solution will be simple, easy and involve no fundamental societal life-style changes. (Like the effects 200 years of slavery will go away with one war, one amendment and one civil rights act.)

The corollaries are the erroneously thinking that a) the solution can be found our current "consume more tomorrow than today" global economic system and b) the "advancements in technology" will be the answer to the problem instead of realizing it has been the CAUSE of the problem. See Dilworth "Too Smart for Our Own Good"
ISBN 9780521757690

John Puma

At 3:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear 10:23, "My dog took two trumps today. But I'm a good citizen. I picked them both up." Couldn't you have found a Republican's lawn to leave them on?

At 3:57 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

I am surprised at your take on this, John Puma. I strongly disagree. Politics matter and can be ignored at our own peril. Politics are front and center in the world's where-with-all with this issue, as with most issues. I think this branding would be a VERY effective move to promote efforts to stop climate change. Associating disasters with Trump's name would infuse much more clarity and meaning into each event and bring the reasons for climate change, i.e., that it is a man-made disaster, home each and every time.

I love it!

There is nothing wrong with attaching Trump branding to natural disasters caused by climate change. His recent move is the most blatant and provocative statement of his stupidity and destructive nature ever and he certainly deserves this label in response. He has earned it big time on the world stage. People need to wake the hell up and this label would help.

Attaching Trump's name would serve to point the blame at those politicians who refuse to do anything about climate change - it would promote awareness that politics matter and action must be taken by people. The term climate change seems to be a big yawn to many people (deplorables come to mind) but having Trump's name front and center would give a needed boost of meaning to the issue. It connects politics with disasters in a very basic way. Climate change was not even a topic at any of the debates!

Climate change is real, it can only be stopped by people, and the people against doing so need to take the heat and blame. Trump exemplifies this and has the world wide name recognition. He, by his own actions, deserves this. It would be an excellent application of his entire career of branding.

At 4:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In today's Opinions in the Washington Post, this is the title of one:

Trump ignores the messy reality of global warming — and makes it all about him

Trump deserves having his name attached to every climate disaster heading our way.

At 6:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:52, where I live, ALL lawns are republican (Christian Taliban, neo Nazi, Nazi, fascist, racist or all of the above). Still, I clean up after. They are political sub sentient trogs, but they still live next door.

Hone, climate change AT THIS POINT cannot be changed by humans. It's already too late. It may have been too late when Clinton got elected by "feeling our pain". It's still possible to slow it down some, but humankind has NEVER addressed any such threat usefully.

JP, the one thing that humankind needs to do ultimately for the best results in slowing it down is to limit population. We're going on 8 billion on a planet that can only support 2 billion renewably. And even if humankind agreed on limits to child bearing that would eventually lower the population, it would take several generations to become effective during which time temps and sea levels would continue to soar. I don't see any kind of world agreement to cull the numbers.
But the other problem here is that it would take a complete re-think on all of our common religious dogma -- capitalism and whichever fairy delusion one adheres to. Both are anathema to humankind coming to bear on this problem.

Trump, being the contemporary name of this particular collection of diseases, is fine. But the components of it, whether genetic, religious or whatever, have been around since the first proto-primate species evolved millions of years ago.

Eventually, this will be a planetary wide version of what happened on Easter Island and the Anasazi at Mesa Verdi. The difference is that Easter Island can still support a small number of humans and the Anasazi could and did move elsewhere. Earth may end up almost uninhabitable, and we have no place else to go.

Darwin was correct. If we don't evolve intellect and rational thought, reduction in physical size to a quarter of what we are now and a much slower reproductive cycle within the next century or two, the planet will cull or eliminate the species for us.


Post a Comment

<< Home