Andrey (azangru) wrote,

Host: I learned this year for the first time from Ben Shapiro the term semantic overload... He's been using it to describe the words black lives matter. Semantically overloaded, it could be different things at once. Are you against black lives matter? Well, it's very difficult to say it without sounding like you hate black people.

Andrew Doyle: ... It's a very clever rhetorical trope, because of course, as you say, you cannot disagree with the phrase black lives matter; no-one would.

(at around 35 minutes)

I've heard this affirmation (that no-one would disagree that black lives matter) multiple times; this is just the latest example; but it may be a particularly good one, because it is so close to the words semantic overload. Because, of course, there is also another semantic overload at play. When people talk about lives mattering, they are (or expect their audience to be) switching to an abstract semantic of politics, moral philosophy, or sloganeering. In the concrete sense, however, talking of the value of lives colored one way or the other is meaningless. The lives that are important to you, an individual and the sole possessor of your unique axiological scale, matter; other lives matter little or none at all, no matter which color they are. This must be as self-evident as the observation about the ambiguity of the phrase or about the fact that civilized people don't rank lives by color; yet, in contrast to these other platitudes, I've never heard this one spoken out loud.

Also, Doyle (degree in English from Oxford) makes, I believe, an embarrassing mistake around 39-40 minutes in, when he says, "To have them (Eton) support a movement (BLM) that wants to see them abolished is utterly retarded. And I am using this word in its literal meaning of to go backwards". I think he confuses retarded with regressive here.

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