The Elephant


Words condition us. The association of words condition us. A single word can evoke a group of words. As the Berkeley professor George Lakoff has written, if you tell someone not to think of the elephant, then they will think of the elephant all day and they‘ll dream about it all night, perhaps even making elephant noises in their sleep.

At the moment, Italy is hypnotised by the elephant. Italy is talking only of the elephant and in the end will do what the elephant wants: not talk of the real problems, of data, of solutions, of visions.
Just as you can evoke the image of an elephant by using words like trunk, massive flappy ears, enormous feet, the same is happening in this election campaign with justice, Iraq, opinion polls, terrorism, TV, heat, “par condicio” to name just a few.

These are all words that are connected and that implacably take us to the elephant.

Elephants use word associations to state the contrary to what they really mean, like Bush and his “compassionate conservatorismCompassionate? Bush?
To get away from the game of the elephant, to get away from its playground of words, we need to ignore it and talk about concrete things like numbers, figures and facts.

We’ll use words that the elephant cannot use and doesn’t understand. What does an elephant know about alternative energy, new technologies, fighting the mafia, of an administration adapted for use by citizens, to the reduction of the Public Debt, of the development of research, of precarious work?

These are words that annoy him and should be emerging simply and directly. Words that are connected can create a new context, an alternative “framework”. A place where the word “elephant” cannot exist. And even if it were to continue to exist, it would represent the past, perhaps the past of once upon a time, but a time that doesn’t exist now.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 07:21 PM in | Comments (10)
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Posted by: Lacey Miller | July 17, 2007 07:39 PM

shut the fuck up u sad elephant lovin; cunts.

Posted by: Bandana Lwoki | May 24, 2007 03:00 PM

Its not only the american and italian governments who are using the concept of the elephant to keep us misinformed and comfortably numb. Here in Australia, our Bush-loving government has employed these same tactics, from migration to taxation, to great effect. For example, using clever terms like "tax-relief" to sell policy to the australian people becomes problematic for the opposition. "Tax relief" implies that tax is a burden that we need "relief" from. How can the opposition argue against something that will bring "relief", a word that is intrinsically "good"? By framing political issues in this way, the government feeds on our fears and keeps us sedated. The australian people are seduced by a $6.00 tax rebate while the government gloats about the budget surplus accumulated by slashing funding to universities and health and welfare services. We may not be able to afford to send our children to university anymore but, hey, we got that $6.00! If only more of us were reading Lakoff... we might stand a chance.

Posted by: Lisa Ellison | February 24, 2006 11:27 PM

winds of change:

>> Something that changes
>> Something that is not like it was before
>> Pubblic opinion forced by media
>> When things goes better
>> Pubblic opinion forced by media
>> Money makes the difference
>> Making public opinion important and terminating it
>> Making public opinion like this and that
>> Being precise with news
>> Being always on
>> Being able to be rude and sweet w/o any other reason but misericordy and power.
>> Doing it on loops...

Yeah i would have accepted to be lied like that only if i were in deep troubles like "I've noway out!! Damnnn".

Posted by: Mauro Mazzerioli | February 24, 2006 04:49 PM

just insopportabbile

Posted by: Mauro Mazzerioli | February 24, 2006 04:20 PM

Yes, words condition us, we have problems, poor and sometimes contemptible leadership in various nations, we fight counterproductive wars, etc, etc.

This coming Saturday (February 25), my friend Kok Ksor, the leader of the Montagnards from Vietnam (please see: celebrate another of his birthdays.

His American allies, who found his people useful during the Vietnam war, are too busy making money with our former enemies to speak against the persecution of Kok's Christians.

Be proud of yourselves, Italians! Your Transnational Radical Party is the only determined group which speaks out energetically against those who oppress these brave and honest people.

Kok loves the Italian people, and my friend is an excellent judge of character. So, make his day and send him your (BRIEF) e-mails, and DON'T tell him I sent you - It will be a wonderful surprise to someone who has fought so long against injustice.

Posted by: Wolfgang P. May | February 23, 2006 03:33 AM

there's one to thing to say thou, how come it has to be beppe grillo the one to tell us about the big elephant...and about all this type of psychological harassment we're undertaking silently, do we really mind about it? or notice anything? NO

the point i want to make is that the heck with us population being poor and defenceless against the oppression of the powerful and rich. we love to watch big brother, two or three soap operas, Orange County, Dawson's Creek, the simpsons and dream about a perfect life where you can do the least and gain the best out of everything.

it's true the society we live in wants us to be filled with fears (lastest one of all...the chicken aviarian flu one...pathetic...just as much as the mad cow desease or the S.A.R.S. which did kill people...but the people that fought in first line to contain the sickness like Carlo Urbani for instance...and others which lived under extremely low conditions of health)...anxieties and make us all turn into controllable collective minded idiots, but we do nothing to oppose it,

we don't really even know what is good and what is bad anymore, we don't seem to find the fucking point of the situation...never!

why build in the susa valley a tunnel when there are so many millions and millions of trucks going everyday filled (and empty as B.G. says in his show) with whatever...or why build fucking nuclear power plants when we can buy the energy from another friggin country? (and most of all why start investing and investing in the research of that type of energy and then throw it all to waste)

or why do Politicians like Di Pietro want to put everyone in prison, keeping the same fucking laws that in our 60 year democracy have made all sort of italians, from the small grocer to the big ass broker evade taxes in any possible creative way?

come on!!!! we're always ready to point the finger and we're the ones that never ask a receat at the bar when we drink our 80cent coffee.

it's always somebody elses fault...well i'm tired of this shit...

and as you can read in a stupid can of "ChinÚ"

La gente vuole sempre cambiare il mondo ma mai se stessa


Posted by: Luca Piccardi | February 22, 2006 03:50 AM


just today in the office my french colleague was explaining to me the concept of "Blanc Elephant".This apply also to The Val di Susa issue where the opposition party is not much of an opposition to this sad project.13 milion of eurooooooooos!!!

Posted by: Enrico Maure | February 22, 2006 01:51 AM

It's funny how this happens everywhere in the world. I see this happening in the States everyday. The media in the States absolutly loves to talk about elephants, when elephants are scary and inject fears in people's heads. The more fears, the more people watch TV to know "the latest" on smell conditions of that brown pile behind the elephant. The fact is that the elephants shown by the media are often used artfully to distract, they are implanted by somebody else to diverge attention. The more people stare at elephants, the more the real issues are forgotten. Bush used "weapons of mass distruction" as a huge elephant to go to war and obtain its goals. Nobody bothered to look how poorly things were going internally, all the eyes were pointed toward the "evil doers" out there.
Same thing during the elections. Matter of fact it never happend in recent history that an American president lost elections during war. The big elephant is the war, terror, the evil doers, weapons of mass distructions, whatever it takes to keep people busy thinking about something else. The old Italian saying "Tutto il mondo e' paese" comes to mind.

Posted by: Lorenzo Pasqualis | February 21, 2006 08:44 PM

That's true! Associations of words are very important, in the manipulation process our's mind!
A simple word, in association with a concept, relaese a chain reaction, totally automatic, and you don't realize what's happened!
That is very dangerous, and leads to a complete control of public opinion!

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | February 21, 2006 08:15 PM

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