- the "Party," in George
What is to blame
for the sorry state of our public discourse? It is tempting to
conclude that those who are responsible for the national debate
have forgotten the very definitions of the words they speak. In
reality, it only
seems that way. Most of those who engage in the act of term-twisting do so
Orwell recognized this universal phenomenon and addressed it years ago.
In his visionary book 1984, he described these machinations, when used
to manipulate, as NEWSPEAK.
The term has since made its way into our consciousness, our dictionaries,
and most especially, the playbooks of corporate "public
relations" departments, journalists, press secretaries, and
is no longer our enemy and therefore we shouldn't be locked into a Cold
War mentality that says we keep the peace by blowing each other up.
In my attitude, that's old, that's tired, that's stale."
value a free press. We value freedom. And the more we value
freedom, the more they hate us. That's why. That's why the
enemy still exists."
we love - we love freedom. That's what they didn't understand. They
hate things; we love things. They act out of hatred; we don't seek
revenge, we seek justice out of love."
need to tell your loved ones, the little ones in particular, that when
they hear the President talking about al Qaeda, Iraq and other places, I
do so because I long for peace."
want to send the signal to our enemy that you have aroused a compassionate
and decent and mighty nation, and we're going to hunt you down."
I think if you say you're going to do something and don't do it, that's
- George W. Bush
There is no reconciling words such as
these with logical thought processes. These statements are so full
of contradictory language they are virtually meaningless. With the
exception of the last quote, they are not examples of accidental
mispronunciation, but rather of deliberate miscommunication.
Statements such as these are INTENDED to be confusing. They are
designed to turn one's brain to mush.
we have a deficit because tax revenues are down. Make no mistake about it, the tax relief package that we
passed -- that should be permanent, by the way -- has helped the economy,
and that the deficit would have been bigger without the tax-relief
– George W. Bush, contradicting himself on
As a lover of
language, I don't disagree with the creation of new and descriptive
terms. On the contrary, I know that it's only natural and necessary. It is the
use of verbiage
to obscure and obfuscate, to hide meaning and intent, that I oppose.
if all others accepted the lie which the Party imposed -- if all records
told the same tale -- then the lie passed into history and became
truth. 'Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the
future: who controls the present controls the past.' And yet the
past, though of its nature alterable, never had been altered.
Whatever was true now was true from everlasting to everlasting. It
was quite simple. All that was needed was an unending series of
victories over your own memory. 'Reality control', they called
it: in Newspeak, 'doublethink.'"
recent example of newspeak is the 2002 controversy on Social Security
"privatization." You may recall that the public did not
seem much enamored of this idea after the stock market was pummeled before
the election. Candidates raced to distance themselves from the word privatization,
though most did not, in practice, repudiate the concept. Instead, they
came up with new and improved terms such as "personal investment
accounts" and "Social Security Choice" to disguise their support for the plan. But
let's be clear, "Social Security Choice" is just w.a.c.k.
want the federal government controlling Social Security like it's some
kind of federal program."
- George W. Bush
the word "privatization" can be interpreted in many ways, this
is the term that both George Bush and the CATO Institute were pushing
throughout campaign 2000. Republican candidates, along with CATO, later
removed the term
from their collective vocabulary. The pseudonyms for
the program could not change the fact that the plan would require raiding the
Social Security trust fund in its early years to find the funds for
"personal investments." These funds would then have to be
repaid to the trust fund, with interest. These funds would
thereafter be susceptible to the whim of the market, with no guarantee of
return on investment. Ask your financial advisor, if you're lucky
enough to have one, what they think about the idea of borrowing money to
invest in the stock market. They won't recommend it. Most
banks will not loan money on such a strategy. It is just not a good
idea. So without new funding, this proposal is just what Al Gore called it: a risky scheme.
By the way,
President-elect Gore also predicted that the trust fund would have to be
raided anyway to fund Dubya's 2000 campaign promises. Gore, along
with the voters, has been proven right.
“I don't make any apologies for what I do on the
Security "privatization" is at present politically radioactive,
due to unfavorable public opinion caused by stock market losses. Of
course, should the plan ever win approval, it would be a bonanza for banks
and brokerage houses. In addition, investors holding large amounts
of stock at the beginning of this type of program would likely enjoy large
gains caused by the influx of new money into the market. Hmmmm.
Just follow that money.
Kinda makes more sense when you think of it that way, doesn't it?
ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the
decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement
by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed
from the worst follies of orthodoxy. You cannot speak any of the necessary
dialects, and when you make a stupid remark, its stupidity will be
obvious, even to yourself. Political language - and with variations this
is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists - is
designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give
an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a
moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to
time, one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and
useless phrase - some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid
test, veritable inferno or other lump of verbal refuse - into the dustbin
where it belongs.”
basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words.
If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who
must use the words.”
most erroneous stories are those we think we know best - and therefore
never scrutinize or question."
- Stephen Jay Gould
following listing of critical terms is my tongue-in-cheek attempt to
remind certain parrots, politicians, and pundits of the distinct and
definite meanings behind the words that are the very foundation of our
Thanks to www.dictionary.com.
Conformity to fact or actuality; a statement proven to be or accepted as
true; sincerity; integrity; fidelity to an original or standard; reality;
talk: Meaningless speech that consists of nonsense
syllables mixed with intelligible words; gibberish; deliberately ambiguous
or evasive language. Also called dou·ble·speak.
Deliberately ambiguous and contradictory language used to mislead and
manipulate the public.
Laughably ludicrous linguistics; strangely strangled syntax; cattle-country
colloquialism. See Bush·it: The
phrase "compassionate conservatism" has proven to be shrubbish.
Puerile political posturing; regrettably ridiculous rhetoric; pseudo-conservative
psycho-babble. See shrub·bish:
He said he would have a humble foreign policy, but that was just Bushit.
Morphological misadventure; mispronunciation; miscommunication;
misstatement; malapropism; especially by a Bush family member: Did
you hear Dubya's latest Bushism?
English speech or usage that is considered standard or accepted; Received
1. Abbreviation for Western-American Colloquial King's English.
Mother tongue of President/CEO George W. Bush, distinguished by capricious
and confrontational use of Bushism, Shrubbish, and Bushit. 2. Any
statement spoken or written in w.a.c.k. 3. slang: a. Jive.
b. Incorrect; inaccurate; impertinent; illogical; incongruous;
inconsistent; irrelevant; inferior; inane; irresponsible; irrational;
inappropriate; immature; infantile; incompetent: That State of
the Union Address was w.a.c.k.
To write or speak w.a.c.k. for, or as, a member of the Bush family;
to unexpectedly or inexplicably speak w.a.c.k.: Colin
Powell bushwacked the United Nations last week.
1. Abbreviation for the military industrial congressional
establishment. 2. Two or more members of this establishment. Those
who advocate a war in which they stand to profit are m.i.c.e., not men.
The capacity for logical, rational, and analytic thought;
intelligence; good judgment; sound sense.
Thought marked by the acceptance of gross contradictions and
falsehoods, especially when used as a technique of self-indoctrination.
Information about recent events or happenings, especially as
reported by newspapers, periodicals, radio, or television.
Material lacking real value or substance; money and favors obtained
as political patronage; worthless or oversimplified ideas.
The systematic propagation of a doctrine or cause or of information
reflecting the views and interests of those advocating such a doctrine or
cause; material disseminated by the advocates or opponents of a doctrine
A source of opinion; a critic; a learned person.
One who undertakes unpleasant or distasteful tasks for money or
reward; a hireling; a writer hired to produce routine or commercial
Not limited to or by established, traditional, orthodox, or authoritarian
attitudes, views, or dogmas; free from bigotry; favoring proposals for
reform, open to new ideas for progress, and tolerant of the ideas and
behavior of others; broad-minded; tending to give freely; generous.
Deep awareness of the suffering of another, coupled with the wish to
Favoring traditional views and values; tending to oppose change; traditional
or restrained in style; moderate; cautious.
Departing markedly from the usual or customary; favoring or effecting fundamental
or revolutionary changes in current
practices, conditions, or institutions.
1. A political order whose
head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usually a president; a nation that has such a
political order. 2. A
political order in which the supreme power lies in a
body of citizens who are entitled to vote
for officers and representatives responsible to them; a nation that has
such a political order.
Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives; a political or social unit that has such a government; the
common people, considered as the primary source of political power; majority
rule; the principles of social equality and respect for the individual
within a community.
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a
dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition
through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent
nationalism and racism; a political philosophy or movement based on or
advocating such a system of government.; oppressive, dictatorial control.
A form of government in which the
supreme power is lodged in the hands of the wealthy classes; government by
the rich; also, a controlling or influential class of rich men.
Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or
families; those making up such a government.
A clique that seeks power, usually through intrigue.
A conspiratorial group of plotters or intriguers.
The act of choosing a person to fill an office, or to membership in
a society, as by ballot, uplifted hands, or viva voce; as, the election of
a president or a mayor.
d'é·tat: The sudden overthrow of a government by a
usually small group of persons in or previously in positions of authority.
One appointed or elected
to preside over an organized body of people, such as an assembly or
The chief executive of the United States, serving as both chief of
state and chief political executive.
One who wrongfully or illegally seizes and holds the place of
A member of a small governing faction.
The head of the U.S. Department of Justice and a member of the President's
An omnipresent, seemingly benevolent figure representing the oppressive
control over individual lives exerted by an authoritarian
government; a state, organization, or leader regarded in this
The condition of being free of restraints; liberty of the person from
slavery, detention, or oppression; political independence; exemption from
the arbitrary exercise of authority in the performance of a specific
action; civil liberty; exemption from an unpleasant or onerous condition;
The capacity to exercise choice; free will.
Freedom from unjust or undue governmental control.
Lack of personal freedom, as to act as one chooses.
A prison so constructed that the inspector can see each of the prisoners
at all times, without being seen.
Feeling, expressing, or inspired by love for one's country.
Not disposed to cheat or defraud; not deceptive or fraudulent; showing or
characterized by honor and integrity; used as a title of respect; adhering
to ethical and moral principles; deserving of esteem and respect.
Open to bribery; mercenary; capable of betraying honor, duty, or scruples
for a price; corruptible; marked by corrupt dealings, especially bribery;
obtainable for a price.
An opinion or position reached by a group as a whole; general agreement.
A condition in which all acting influences are canceled by others,
resulting in a stable, balanced, or unchanging system.
predominant influence, as of a state, region, or group, over another or
The predominant influence, of moneyed and corporate interests, over world
environment, media, culture, and governance: The state of our
union is one of hegemoney.
Disclaimer: Only the
"real" definitions listed above are from www.dictionary.com,
and they have been edited for relevance. Please don't hold them
accountable, Mr. Ashcroft. The interpretations of the words "Bushit," "Bushism,"
"Shrubbish," "w.a.c.k.," "bushwack,"
"m.i.c.e." and "Hegemoney,"
are the responsibility of the webmaster only.
is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.“
for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality."
- Frank Herbert