From “bailout” to “recovery” and “reinvestment”

More Orwellian language games. President Obama is using pollsters to help shape the language that he uses to present his policies:

Elements of Obama’s approach bear the hallmarks of message testing, like the introduction of the words “recovery” and “reinvestment” to rebrand the “stimulus” package, and aides said the polling has focused almost entirely on selling policy, not on measuring the president’s personal appeal.

A source familiar with the data said a central insight of more recent polling had been that Americans see no distinction between the budget and the popular spending measures that preceded it, and that the key to selling the budget has been to portray it as part of the “recovery” measures.

“Terrorism” to be called “man-caused disasters”

Still more Orwellian newspeak from the new administration from the head of Homesland Security, no less, Janet Napolitano. She wants to replace the word “terrorism” with “man-caused disasters.” The very person assigned to protect us from terrorism does not believe that terrorism exists, prefering to imagine it as an impersonal disaster her office just has to clean up after. This is too much even more for The Washington Post, or at least Gene Weingarten’s column/blog, “The Gene Pool”:

Today we learn that Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano no longer likes to talk about “terrorism.”    She prefers the term “man-caused disasters.”  

Even in the gated-community Gene Pool, a reliable redoubt for escaped New Dealers and Bleeding Heart Liberals from this and other eras,  this smacks of the craven politics of pacification — political correctness gone nuts.    Bhopal was a man-caused disaster.  Three-Mile-Island was a man-caused disaster.  Terrorism is terrorism.  What Napolitano has done is remove the moral responsibility for it.  
 Thus, today’s challenge is to help Ms. Napolitano by giving her some additional expressions she might adopt for things that might otherwise not sound so nice.   Your expression can be addressing any sort of social concern.  

Here’s one: 

Don’t say “Islamofascist suicide bomber.”   Call ‘em “fatal disease carriers.”

Weingarten asks readers to come up with their own suggestions. Let’s do the same. What are some other new terms that would be useful to the new Obama administration?


No more war, just “overseas contingency operation”

The Global War on Terror is over! The term, that is. The Obama administration is replacing that all-too-specific language for something that sounds better. From ‘Global War On Terror’ Is Given New Name –

The Obama administration appears to be backing away from the phrase “global war on terror,” a signature rhetorical legacy of its predecessor.

In a memo e-mailed this week to Pentagon staff members, the Defense Department’s office of security review noted that “this administration prefers to avoid using the term ‘Long War’ or ‘Global War on Terror’ [GWOT.] Please use ‘Overseas Contingency Operation.’ “

This is “newspeak” right out of George Orwell’s “1984″ and “Animal Farm.” Such misuse of language–purposefully using vague language to obscure the reality–is a mark of totalitarian propaganda, which seeks to control how the public thinks by manipulating the words they use to think with. Read Orwell’s “Politics and the English language” while you still can. An excerpt from the 1946 essay:

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.

Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them.

Tolerance vs. Relativism

James Kushiner, editor of Touchstone, gives a succinct refutation of that strange assumption that tolerance requires relativism:

I can tolerate Muslims, Jews, Buddhists well enough, and expect them to tolerate Christiants, when at the same time I believe Jesus, and no one else, is the only Name whereby a man can be saved. We disagree greatly with the other religions, but we can tolerate them. If they were all the same, there would be nothing we would have to tolerate, nothing to put up with.

New Word: Sixties-ism

The word-hoard of the English language keeps growing, as new words come into existence and into our vocabulary. This article–Harold Meyerson – Back to The ’60s ––gives us “Sixtiesism,” which could be defined as a reversion to the issues and mindset that characterized the 1960′s. The article also coins a related word: Sixties-ization. Meaning imposing the issues and mindset of the 1960′s on contemporary times or on an individual.

The author is using those terms to analyze the current Democratic presidential race, as all of those elderly Sixties survivors–Rev. Wright, those Weather Underground terrorists–and the Sixties issues of Civil Rights and Peace are being injected, for better or worse, into today’s campaigns.

Still, the words are the best part of the argument. So what are some other examples of Sixtiesism? Of Sixtiesization?