"The Wondering Jew"
Nov. 27, 2006 - 12:43 PST
It keeps coming up -- a column today in the Eugene The Register-Guard by Calvin Woodward of The Associated Press. Quoted here in full:
FUZZY TERMS RUN THROUGH LANGUAGE OF WASHINNGTON
Marketing sensibilities long ago infiltrated the word use popularly produced by U.S. Leaders
WASHINGTON -- "The government's annual accounting of hunger in America reported no hunger in its last outing. Instead, it found "food insecurity."
"Likewise, no one is even considering retreating from Iraq. "Redeploying" the heck out of there is, however an option."
"In Washington, words are a moving target that conceal at least as much as they reveal. Doublespeak runs through the discourse on Iraq, terrorism and domestic matters to a point where it's hard to tell what is going on."
"The Libertarian Cato Institute recently took on the rising tide of fuzzy words in the fight against terrorism, arguing that whatever people think of what the government is doing, it would help to understand what the government is doing."
"That is no easy task when the administration offers tortured definitions of torture, describes suicide by captives as "self-injurious behavior incidents" an and labeled at least one suspect an "imperative security internee" when it became constitutionally questionable to hold him as an enemy combatant."
"Interrogations are "debriefings."
"Propaganda is a struggle for "hearts and minds."
"The estate tax is the "death tax."
"The right to an abortion is the right to "choose."
"And can anyone oppose the Patriot Act and still be a patriot ?"
""By corrupting the language, the people who wield power are able to fool the others about their activities and evade responsibility and accountability," Cato's Timothy Lynch argues in his polemic against doublespeak -- an outgrowth of the doublethink and newspeak of George Orwell's "1984."
"But nefarious "War is Peace" Orwellianisms are not the only impulse at work, by a long shot."
"Some of Washington's bland euphemisms are calculated mainly not to offend. Just as Dead End signs have been replaced by No Outlet ones, congressional oversight investigators tend these days to find "challenges" in the behavior of agencies, as they politely put it, and not quite so many "problems" -- how rude."
"Marketing sensibilities long ago infiltrated, if not took over, the debate in Washington, a progression most vividly seen in catchy titles given to legislation. These are the same sensibilities that, in the marketplace, the prompted rapeseed oil to be sold as canola oil and a delicate fish named slimehead to come to the dinner table as orange roughy."
"Republicans came to power in the 1990s offering the American Dream Restoration act and the Common Sense Legal Reforms Act. President Clinton pitched his Middle Class Bill of Rights. The wish to be technically accurate was behind the decision of the Agriculture Department this year to squeeze "hunger" out of the equation."
"Hunger, in the words of advisers whose recommendations were accepted by the department, is "an individual-level physiological condition that may result from food insecurity."
"The word "should refer to a potential consequence of food insecurity that, because of prolonged, involuntary lack of food, results in discomfort, illness, weakness, or pain that goes beyond the unual uneasy sensation."
In other words, it's not just the munchies."
In our area it is a fact that "No Outlet" signs are showing up more and more. Wonder why the word cul de sac has gone out of style ?
And there are old terms, misused to the max, such as "Mission Accomplished" which might well be actually "Mission Impossible" accompanied by a crash landing aboard a sunken carrier.
And the old saying, "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with BS," seeems to be much applied nowadays. The explanations and excuses in use leave me as puzzled as the situations do. So, it would appear the same old, same old stuff is being pushed at us, under different terminology, again and again AND AGAIN
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