Volume 17, Issue 2, 2020
Stem to Steam: The Ethical Impact of Cultural and Artistic Practices at a Time of Crisis
Global Crisis: War Against an Invisible Enemy?
Don’t Blame the Metaphor
Much has been written since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the world. The way in which we refer to this and other diseases has been commented and criticized in the media and in public online forums. Several linguists have referred to the different metaphors with which we refer to the disease appealing to our social responsibility towards the words we use to refer to sensitive subjects and have compiled alternative forms to “the war metaphor”. There is a linguistic, political, and even health concern about the possible consequences of referring to Covid-19 as a war. However, the conceptual metaphor DISEASE IS WAR is ubiquitous, the key is: it is conceptual, it is a metaphor of the mind and not of language. Moreover, its variations and changes are a reflection of human creativity, but there is nothing wrong with the metaphor per se. In any case, it is a means to criticize certain discourses and there, as in everything, the context of the communicative act is ineludible. In this article we will see some examples of how we refer to SARS-CoV-2 in different media and explain the ubiquity of the metaphor. We shall also note that there is nothing wrong with the metaphor itself, which is, in fact, based on a biologically hooked form, present in human cognition, to refer to something that threatens us and that we must avoid or combat.