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Neoliberal newspeak

News Politics and the English Language Recommended Links Doublespeak Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom'
Corruption of the language Demonization of Putin Discrediting the opponent as favorite tactic of neoliberals Patterns of Propaganda The importance of controlling the narrative Deception as an art form
The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Freedom of speech played by Western MSM as three card monte The attempt to secure global hegemony US and British media are servants of security apparatus Anti Trump Hysteria
The Deep State Cold War II "Fuck the EU": State Department neocons show EU its real place Neoconservatism as the USA version of Neoliberal ideology  Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers New American Militarism
Manipulation of the term "freedom of press" Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair American Exceptionalism National Security State Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law
Lewis Powell Memo Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Edward Lucas as agent provocateur Groupthink Soft propaganda
Diplomacy by deception Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources Deconstructing neoliberalism's definition of 'freedom' The Real War on Reality Nation under attack meme Bullshit as MSM communication method
Neo-fascism Classic Hypocrisy of British Ruling Elite Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Big Uncle is Watching You What's the Matter with Kansas Media as a weapon of mass deception
Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Good Soldier Svejk Nineteen Eighty-Four Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

Adapted from Bourdieu and Wacquant NewLiberal Newspeak

Within a matter of a few years, in all the advanced societies, employers, international officials,  high-ranking civil servants,  media intellectuals and high-flying journalists have all started to use Neoliberal Newspeak. Its vocabulary, which seems to have emerged out of nowhere, now enetered the standard Enlish disctonaties and used in daily coverage of event by neoliberal MSM. Among the word introduced by this "neoliberal newspeak" are  ʻglobalizationʼ and ʻflexibilityʼ, ʻgovernanceʼ and ʻemployabilityʼ, ʻunderclassʼand ʻexclusionʼ, ʻnew economyʼ and ʻzero toleranceʼ,   ʻmulti-culturalismʼ, not to mention their so-called postmodern cousins, ʻminorityʼ, ʻethnicityʼ, ʻidentityʼ, ʻfragmentationʼ, and so on.

The diffusion of this new neoliberal speak – from which the terms ʻcapitalismʼ, ʻclassʼ, ʻexploitationʼ, ʻdominationʼ and ʻinequalityʼ are excluded as "undesirables" under the fake  pretext that they are obsolete  – is the result of a new type of imperialism.

Its effects are all the more powerful and pernicious in that it is promoted not only by the partisans of the neoliberal revolution who, under cover of ʻmodernizationʼ, intendto remake the world by sweeping away the social and economic conquests of a century of social struggles, henceforth depicted as so many archaisms and obstacles to the emergent new order, but also by cultural producers (researchers, writers and artists) and left-wing activists, the vast majority of whom still think of themselves as progressives.

Like ethnic or gender domination, cultural imperialism is a form of symbolic violence that relies on a relationship of constrained communication to extort submission. In the case at hand, its particularity consists in universalizing the particularisms bound up with a singular historical experience.

Thus, just as, in the nineteenth century, a number of so-called philosophical questions that were debated throughout Europe, such as Spenglerʼs theme of ʻdecadenceʼ or Diltheyʼs dichotomy between explanation and understanding, originated, as historian Fritz Ringer has demonstrated, in the historical predicaments and conflicts specific to the peculiar world of German universities, so today many topics directly issued from the particularities and particularisms of US society and universities have been imposed upon the whole planet under apparently de-historicized guises. These commonplaces (in the Aristotelian sense of notions ortheses  with which one argues but over which there is no argument), these undiscussed presuppositions of the discussion owe most of their power to convince to the prestige of the place whence they emanate, and to the fact that, circulating in continuousflow from Berlin to Buenos Aires and from London to Lisbon, they are everywhere powerfully relayed by supposedly neutral agencies ranging from major international organizations (the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, European Commissionand OECD), conservative think-tanks (the Manhattan Institute in New York City,t he Adam Smith Institute in London, the Foundation Saint-Simon in Paris, and the Deutsche Bank Fundation in Frankfurt) and philanthropic foundations, to the schools of power (Science-Po in France, the London School of Economics in England, Harvardʼs
Kennedy School of Government in America, etc.).

In addition to the automatic effect of the international circulation of ideas, which tends, by its very logic, to conceal their original conditions of production and signification, the play of preliminary definitions and scholastic deductions replaces the contingency of denegated sociological necessities with the appearance of logical necessity and tends to mask the historical roots of a whole set of questions and notions:

the ʻefficiencyʼ of the (free) market, the need for the recognition of (cultural) ʻidentitiesʼor the celebratory reassertion of (individual) ʻresponsibilityʼ.

These will be said to be philosophical, sociological, economic or political, depending on the place and moment of reception. Thus ʻplanetarizedʼ, or globalized in the strictly geographical sense of the term, by this uprooting and, at the same time, departicularized as a result of the illusory break effected by conceptualization, these commonplaces, which the perpetual media repetition has gradually transformed into a universal common sense, succeed in making us forget that, in many cases, they do nothing but express, in a truncated
and unrecognizable form (including to those who are promoting it), the complex and contested realities of a particular historical society, tacitly constituted into the model

Orwell relates what he believes to be a close association between bad prose and oppressive ideology:

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence 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 political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenceless 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.

One of Orwell's points is:

The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.

The insincerity of the writer perpetuates the decline of the language as people (particularly politicians, Orwell later notes) attempt to disguise their intentions behind euphemisms and convoluted phrasing. Orwell says that this decline is self-perpetuating. He argues that it is easier to think with poor English because the language is in decline, as the language declines, "foolish" thoughts become even easier, reinforcing the original cause:

A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

Orwell discusses "pretentious diction" and "meaningless words". "Pretentious diction" is used to make biases look impartial and scientific, while "meaningless words" are used to stop the reader from seeing the point of the statement. According to Orwell: "In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning."

Five passages[edit]

Orwell chooses 5 passages of text which "illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer." The samples are: by Harold Laski ("five negatives in 53 words"), Lancelot Hogben (mixed metaphors), an essay on psychology in politics ("simply meaningless"), a communist pamphlet ("an accumulation of stale phrases") and a reader's letter in Tribune (in which "words and meaning have parted company"). From these, Orwell identifies a "catalogue of swindles and perversions" which he classifies as "dying metaphors", "operators or verbal false limbs", "pretentious diction" and "meaningless words". (see cliches, prolixity, peacock terms and weasel words).

Orwell notes that writers of modern prose tend not to write in concrete terms but use a "pretentious latinized style" (compare Anglish). He claims writers find it is easier to gum together long strings of words than to pick words specifically for their meaning, particularly in political writing, where Orwell notes that "[o]rthodoxy ... seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style." Political speech and writing are generally in defence of the indefensible and so lead to a euphemistic inflated style.

Orwell criticises bad writing habits which spread by imitation. He argues that writers must think more clearly because thinking clearly "is a necessary first step toward political regeneration". He later emphasises that he was not "considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought."

"Translation" of Ecclesiastes[edit]

As a further example, Orwell "translates" Ecclesiastes 9:11:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

— into "modern English of the worst sort":

Objective consideration of contemporary phenomena compels the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

Orwell points out that this "translation" contains many more syllables but gives no concrete illustrations, as the original did, nor does it contain any vivid, arresting, images or phrases.

The headmaster's wife at St Cyprian's School, Mrs. Cicely Vaughan Wilkes (nicknamed "Flip"), taught English to Orwell and used the same method to illustrate good writing to her pupils. She would use simple passages from the King James Bible and then "translate" them into poor English to show the clarity and brilliance of the original.[2] Walter John Christie, who followed Orwell to Eton College, wrote that she preached the virtues of "simplicity, honesty, and avoidance of verbiage",[3] and pointed out that the qualities Flip most prized were later to be seen in Orwell's writing.[4]

Remedy of Six Rules[edit]

Orwell said it was easy for his contemporaries to slip into bad writing of the sort he had described and that the temptation to use meaningless or hackneyed phrases was like a "packet of aspirins always at one's elbow". In particular, such phrases are always ready to form the writer's thoughts for him to save him the bother of thinking, or writing, clearly. However, he concluded that the progressive decline of the English language was reversible,[5] and suggested six rules which, he claimed, would prevent many of these faults although, "one could keep all of them and still write bad English".

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. This first rule of Orwell's essay relates to English figures of speech. Examples which Orwell gives of breaking this rule include ring the changes, Achilles' heel, swan song, and hotbed. He describes these as "dying metaphors", and argues that these phrases are used without knowing what is truly being said. Furthermore, he says that using metaphors of this kind makes the original meaning of the phrases meaningless, because those using the phrases do not know their original meaning. Orwell states that "some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact."
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Not to be confused with Double-talk.

Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words.

Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., "downsizing" for layoffs, "servicing the target" for bombing[1]), in which case it is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable.

It may also refer to intentional ambiguity in language or to actual inversions of meaning (for example, naming a state of war "peace").

In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth. Doublespeak is most closely associated with political language.



Contents [hide]
1 Origins and concepts
2 Theoretical approaches 2.1 Conflict theories
2.2 Contemporary writings

3 Main contributors to Doublespeak 3.1 William Lutz
3.2 The NCTE Committee on Public Doublespeak 3.2.1 Hugh Rank
3.2.2 Daniel Dieterich
3.2.3 Critique of NCTE


4 Modern uses of Doublespeak 4.1 Doublespeak in advertising 4.1.1 The Rule of Parity

4.2 Education to combat Doublespeak 4.2.1 Intensify/Downplay pattern

4.3 Doublespeak in politics 4.3.1 The Doublespeak Award


5 See also
6 Notes
7 References
8 External links


Origins and concepts[edit]

The term "doublespeak" probably has its roots in George Orwell's book, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Although the term is not used in the book, it is a close relative of one of the book's central concepts, "doublethink". Another variant, "doubletalk," also referring to deliberately ambiguous speech, did exist at the time Orwell wrote his book, but the usage of "doublespeak" as well as of "doubletalk" in the sense emphasizing ambiguity clearly postdates the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four.[4][5] Parallels have also been drawn between Doublespeak and Orwell's classic essay Politics and the English Language, which discusses the distortion of language for political purposes.[6]

Edward S. Herman, political economist and media analyst, has highlighted some examples of doublespeak and doublethink in modern society.[7] Herman describes in his book, Beyond Hypocrisy the principal characteristics of doublespeak:

What is really important in the world of doublespeak is the ability to lie, whether knowingly or unconsciously, and to get away with it; and the ability to use lies and choose and shape facts selectively, blocking out those that don’t fit an agenda or program.[8]

In his essay "Politics and the English Language", George Orwell observes that political language serves to distort and obfuscate reality. Orwell’s description of political speech is extremely similar to the contemporary definition of doublespeak;


In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, ...[9]

Theoretical approaches[edit]

Although the theories that premise doublespeak are still indefinite, there are some theories that have parallels with the theory of doublespeak and Orwell's ideology in Nineteen Eighty-Four and might possibly provide a better understanding of where doublespeak's theories could have come from.

Conflict theories[edit]

Due to the inherently deceptive nature of doublespeak as well as its prominent use in politics, doublespeak has been linked to the sociological perspective known as conflict theories. Conflict theories detract from ideas of society being naturally in harmony, instead placing emphasis on political and material inequality as its structural features. Antonio Gramsci's concepts on cultural hegemony, in particular, suggest that the culture and values of the economic elite – the bourgeoisie – become indoctrinated as ‘common sense’ to the working-class, allowing for the maintenance of the status quo through misplaced belief. Being himself one of the leaders of the Communist Party of Italy, (CPI), his theories had, in turn, been strongly influenced by the German social thinker Karl Marx, and have their ideological roots grounded in Marxist theory of false consciousness and capitalist exploitation. While Gramsci's views argue that culture (beliefs, perceptions and values) allows the ruling class to maintain domination, Marx's explanation is along more economic lines, with concepts such as commodity fetishism demonstrating how the ideology of the bourgeoisie (in this case, the existence of property as a social creation rather than an 'eternal entity') dominate over that of the working classes.[10] In both cases, both philosophers argue that one view - that of the bourgeoisie - dominates over others, hence the term conflict theories.

On the other hand, Terrence P. Moran of the NCTE has compared the use of doublespeak in the mass media to laboratory experiments conducted on rats, where a batch of rats were deprived of food, before one half was fed sugar and water and the other half a saccharine solution. Both groups exhibited behavior indicating that their hunger was satisfied, but rats in the second group (which were fed saccharine solution) died from malnutrition. Moran highlights the structural nature of doublespeak, and notes that social institutions such as the mass media adopt an active, top-down approach in managing opinion. Therefore, Moran parallels doublespeak to producing an illusionary effect;


This experiment suggests certain analogies between the environments created for rats by the scientists and the environments created for us humans by language and the various mass media of communication. Like the saccharine environment, an environment created or infiltrated by doublespeak provides the appearance of nourishment and the promise of survival, but the appearance is illusionary and the promise false.[11]

Contemporary writings[edit]

Doublespeak might also have some connections with contemporary theories as well. Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky note in their book that Orwellian Doublespeak is an important component of the manipulation of the English language in American media, through a process called ‘dichotomization’; a component of media propaganda involving ‘deeply embedded double standards in the reporting of news’. For example, the use of state funds by the poor and financially needy is commonly referred to as 'social welfare' or 'handouts', which the 'coddled' poor 'take advantage of'. These terms, however, do not apply to other beneficiaries of government spending such as tax incentives and military spending.[12]

Examples of the structural nature of the use of Doublespeak have been made by modern scholars. Noam Chomsky argues in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media that people in modern society consist of decision-makers and social participants who have to be made to agree.[13] According to Chomsky, the media and public relations industry actively shape public opinion, working to present messages in line with their economic agenda for the purposes of controlling of the 'public mind'.[13] Contrary to the popular belief that indoctrination is inconsistent with democracy, Chomsky goes so far as to argue that 'it's the essence of democracy.'[13]


The point is that in a ... totalitarian state, it doesn't much matter what people think because ... you can control what they do. But when the state loses the bludgeon, when you can't control people by force and when the voice of the people can be heard, ... you have to control what people think. And the standard way to do this is to resort to what in more honest days used to be called propaganda. Manufacture of consent. Creation of necessary illusions.[13]

Edward Herman's book Beyond Hypocrisy also includes a doublespeak dictionary of commonly employed media terms and phrases into plain English.

Henceforth, conflict theories demonstrates the dominating ideology of the bourgeoisie and Moran's theory highlights that doublespeak produces an illusionary effect; both theories having parallels to Orwell's ideology in Nineteen Eighty-Four. Similarly, Herman's theory of doublespeak having an inherent nature to be manipulative and Chomsky's theory of 'dichotomization' relates directly to the practice of doublespeak and how doublespeak is deliberately deceptive in nature.

Main contributors to Doublespeak[edit]

William Lutz[edit]

William D. Lutz, serves as the third chairman of the Doublespeak Committee since 1975 to the present. In 1989, both his own book Doublespeak and, under his editorship, the committee's third book, Beyond Nineteen Eighty-Four, were published. Lutz was also the former editor of the now defunct Quarterly Review of Doublespeak, which examines ways that jargon has polluted the public vocabulary with phrases, words and usages of words designed to obscure the meaning of plain English. His book, Beyond Nineteen Eighty-Four, consists of 220 pages and eighteen articles contributed by long-time Committee members and others whose body of work has made important contributions to understandings about language, as well as a bibliography of 103 sources on doublespeak. [14]

Lutz is one of the main contributors to the committee as well as promoting the term "doublespeak" to a mass audience so as to inform them of the deceptive qualities that doublespeak contains. He mentions:


There is more to being an effective consumer of language than just expressing dismay at dangling modifiers, faulty subject and verb agreement, or questionable usage. All who use language should be concerned whether statements and facts agree, whether language is, in Orwell's words 'largely the defense of the indefensible' and whether language 'is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.'" [15]

He also mentions that the NCTE Committee on Public Doublespeak and their works with regards to educating the public on doublespeak is responsible for "the rather awesome task of combating the advertisers, the politicians, and the major manipulators of public language in our society." [15]

Lutz states that it is important to highlight doublespeak to the public because "language isn't the invention of human beings to lie, deceive, mislead, and manipulate" and the "purpose of language is to communicate the truth and to facilitate social groups getting together". Thus, according to Lutz, doublespeak is a form of language that defeats the purpose of inventing language because doublespeak does not communicate the truth but seeks to do the opposite and the doublespeak committee is tasked with correcting this problem that doublespeak has created in the world of language.[15]

The NCTE Committee on Public Doublespeak[edit]

Main article: National Council of Teachers of English

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Committee on Public Doublespeak was formed in 1971, in the midst of the Watergate scandal, at a point when there was widespread skepticism about the degree of truth which characterized relationships between the public and the worlds of politics, the military, and business. NCTE passed two resolutions. One called for the Council to find means to study dishonest and inhumane uses of language and literature by advertisers, to bring offenses to public attention, and to propose classroom techniques for preparing children to cope with commercial propaganda. The other called for the Council to find means to study the relations of language to public policy, to keep track of, publicize, and combat semantic distortion by public officials, candidates for office, political commentators, and all those who transmit through the mass media. Bringing the charges of the two resolutions to life was accomplished by forming NCTE's Committee on Public Doublespeak, a body which has acquitted itself with notable achievements since its inception. The National Council's publications on doublespeak have made significant contributions in describing the need for reform where clarity in communication has been deliberately distorted. Such structures can be applied to the field of education, where they could conceivably initiate an anti-pollution bandwagon in educational communication and educate people on how to counter doublespeak.[16]

William Lutz stated that "the doublespeak committee was formed to combat the use of public language by increasing people's awareness of what is good, clear, solid use of language and what is not." "The committee does more than help students and the general public recognize what doublespeak is; it dramatizes that clarity of expression reflects clarity of thought."[15]

Hugh Rank[edit]

Hugh Rank formed the Doublespeak committee and was the first chairman of this committee. Under his editorship, the committee produced a book called Language and Public Policy (1974), with the aim of informing readers of the extensive scope of doublespeak being used to deliberately mislead and deceive the audience. He highlighted the deliberate public misuses of language and provided strategies for countering doublespeak by focusing on educating people in the English language so as to help them identify when doublespeak is being put into play. He was also the founder of the Intensify/Downplay pattern that has been widely used to identify instances of Doublespeak being used.[16]

Daniel Dieterich[edit]

Daniel Dieterich served as the second chairman of the Doublespeak committee after Hugh Rank in 1975. He served as editor of its second publication, Teaching about Doublespeak (1976),which carried forward the Committee's charge to inform teachers of ways of teaching students how to recognize and combat language designed to mislead and misinform.[16]

Critique of NCTE[edit]

A. M. Tibbetts is one of the main critics of the NCTE, claiming that 'the Committee's very approach to the misuse of language and what it calls "doublespeak" may in the long run limit its usefulness'.[17] According to him, the 'Committee's use of Orwell is both confused and confusing'. The NCTE's publications resonate with George Orwell's name, and allusions to him abound in statements on doublespeak; for example, the committee quoted Orwell's remark that "language is often used as an instrument of social control" in Language and Public Policy. Tibbetts argues that such a relation between NCTE and Orwell's work is contradicting because 'the Committee's attitude towards language is liberal, even radical' while 'Orwell's attitude was conservative, even reactionary'.[17] He also criticizes on the Committee's 'continual attack' against linguistic 'purism'.[17]

Modern uses of Doublespeak[edit]

Whereas in the early days of the practice it was considered wrong to construct words to disguise meaning, this is now an accepted[citation needed] and established practice. There is a thriving industry in constructing words without explicit meaning but with particular connotations for new products or companies.[18] Doublespeak is also employed in the field of politics. Hence, education is necessary to recognize and combat against doublespeak-use effectively.

Doublespeak in advertising[edit]

Advertisers can use doublespeak to mask their commercial intent from users, as users' defenses against advertising become more well entrenched.[19] Some are attempting to counter this technique, however, with a number of systems which offer diverse views and information which highlights the manipulative and dishonest methods that advertisers employ.[20]

According to Jacques Ellul, “the aim is not to even modify people’s ideas on a given subject, rather, it is to achieve conformity in the way that people act." He demonstrates this view by offering an example from drug advertising. By using doublespeak in advertisements, aspirin production rose by almost 50 percent from over 23 million pounds in 1960 to over 35 million pounds in 1970.[21]

The Rule of Parity[edit]

William Lutz's book on "The Rule of Parity" illustrates how doublespeak is being employed in the advertising industry.

Lutz uses the example of parity products: products in which most, if not all, brands in a class or category are of similar quality. To highlight the uniqueness of their product, advertisers may choose to market it differently from their competitors. Advertising is used to create the impression of superiority. This is shown in the first rule of parity, which involves the use of the words "better" and "best". In parity claims, "better" means "best", and "best" means "equal to".[22]

Lutz goes on to say that when advertisers state that their product is “good", it is equivalent in meaning to saying that their product is the best. If all the brands are similar, they must all be similarly good. When they claim that their product is the "best", they mean that the product is as good as the other superior products in its category. Using the toothpaste industry as an example, Lutz says that, because there is no dramatic difference among the products of the major toothpaste companies today, they are equal. However, if all of the different toothpastes are good and equal, there is no need to prove their claim. On the contrary, advertisers cannot market their products as “better” as it is a comparative term, and a claim of superiority.[22]

Education to combat Doublespeak[edit]

Educating students has been suggested by experts to be one of the ways to counter doublespeak. Educating students in the English language is important to help them identify how doublespeak is being used to mislead and conceal information.

Charles Weingartner, one of the founding members of the NCTE committee on Public Doublespeak mentioned: “people do not know enough about the subject (the reality) to recognize that the language being used conceals, distorts, misleads”. There is a crucial need for English language teachers to educate and become experts in teaching about linguistic vulnerability. “Teachers of English should teach our students that words are not things, but verbal tokens or signs of things that should finally be carried back to the things that they stand for to be verified. Students should be taught a healthy skepticism about the potential abuse of language but duly warned about the dangers of an unhealthy cynicism.[23]

According to William Lutz: “Only by teaching respect and love for the language can teachers of English instill in students the sense of outrage they should experience when they encounter doublespeak." "Students must first learn to use the language effectively, to understand its beauty and power.” “Only by using language well will we come to appreciate the perversion inherent in doublespeak.” [24]

Intensify/Downplay pattern[edit]

This pattern was formulated by Hugh Rank and is a simple tool designed to teach some basic patterns of persuasion used in political propaganda and commercial advertising. As it was formulated to educate the public on how to counter doublespeak via education, its aim was to reach the widest possible audience of citizens. It was prepared to be incorporated within a wide variety of existing programs and textbooks in English, speech, media, communications, journalism, social studies. The NCTE has endorsed this pattern as a useful way of teaching students to cope with propaganda from any source.

The function of the Intensify/Downplay pattern is not to dictate what should be discussed but to encourage coherent thought and systematic organization. The pattern works in two ways: intensifying and downplaying. All people intensify and this is done via repetition, association and composition. Downplay is commonly done via omission, diversion and confusion as they communicate in words, gestures, numbers, et cetera. Individuals can better cope with organized persuasion by recognizing the common ways whereby communication is intensified or downplayed, so as to counter doublespeak.[14]

Doublespeak in politics[edit]

Doublespeak is often used to avoid answering questions or to avoid the public's questions without directly stating that the specific politician is ignoring or rephrasing the question.

The Doublespeak Award[edit]

Main article: Doublespeak Award

Doublespeak is often used by politicians for the advancement of their agenda. The Doublespeak Award is an "ironic tribute to public speakers who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-centered." It has been issued by the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) since 1974.[25] The recipients of the Doublespeak Award are usually politicians, national administration or departments. An example of this is the United States Department of Defense, which won the award three times in 1991, 1993, and 2001 respectively. For the 1991 award, the United States Department of Defense 'swept the first six places in the Doublespeak top ten' [26] for using euphemisms like "servicing the target" (bombing) and "force packages" (warplanes). Among the other phrases in contention were "difficult exercise in labor relations", meaning a strike, and "meaningful downturn in aggregate output," an attempt to avoid saying the word "recession".[1]

See also[edit]
Aesopian language
Business speak
Catachresis
Cognitive dissonance
Double bind
Double entendre
Doublethink
Double-talk
Newspeak
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Obscurantism
Polite fiction

Notes[edit]

1.^ Jump up to: a b "Pentagon Is Given an Award, but It's No Prize". The New York Times. November 24, 1991.
2.Jump up ^ Orwell, George (2008). 1984. Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 978-0-14-103614-4.
3.Jump up ^ Herman 1992.
4.Jump up ^ "double, adj.1 and adv.". OED Online. Oxford University Press. 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
5.Jump up ^ "double-talk, n.". OED Online. Oxford University Press. 2012. Retrieved February 6, 2013.
6.Jump up ^ Kehl, D.G.; Livingston, Howard (July 1999). "Doublespeak Detection for the English Classroom". The English Journal 88 (6): 78. JSTOR 822191.
7.Jump up ^ Herman 1992, p. 25.
8.Jump up ^ Herman 1992. p. 3.
9.Jump up ^ Orwell, George (1949). 1984. New York:Signet Books. p. 163.
10.Jump up ^ Marx, Karl; Engels, Friedrich; Engels, Friedrich (1970). The German Ideology (2004 ed.). International Publishers Co,1970. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-7178-0302-3.
11.Jump up ^ Moran, Terrence (Oct 1975). "Public Doublespeak; 1984 and Beyond". College English 37 (2): 224. JSTOR 375076.
12.Jump up ^ Goodwin, Jeff (March 1994). "What's Right (And Wrong) about Left Media Criticism? Herman and Chomsky's Propaganda Model". Sociological Forum 9 (1): 102–103. JSTOR 684944.
13.^ Jump up to: a b c d Chomsky, Noam; Herman, Edward S. (1991). Manufacturing Consent. 52: Black Rose Books. ISBN 1-55164-002-3.
14.^ Jump up to: a b Hasselriis, Peter (February 1991). "From Pearl Harbor to Watergate to Kuwait: "Language in Thought and Action"". The English Journal 80 (2): 28–35.
15.^ Jump up to: a b c d "A new look at 'doublespeak'". Advertising Age. November 6, 1989.
16.^ Jump up to: a b c Zais, Robert S. (September 1978). "Labels, Bandwagons, & Linguistic Pollution in the Field of Education". The English Journal 67 (6): 51–53.
17.^ Jump up to: a b c Tibbetts, A.M. (December 1978). "A Case of Confusion: The NCTE Committee on Public Doublespeak". College English 40 (4): 407–412.
18.Jump up ^ "Doublespeak".
19.Jump up ^ Gibson, Walker (February 1975). "Public Doublespeak: Doublespeak in Advertising". The English Journal 64 (2).
20.Jump up ^ Hormell, Sidney J. (May 1975). "Public Doublespeak: Cable TV, Media Systems, and Doublespeak (Or) Something Funny Happened to the Message on the Way to the Audience.". The English Journal 64 (5).
21.Jump up ^ Dieterich, Daniel J. (December 1974). "Public Doublespeak: Teaching about Language in the Marketplace". College English 36 (4): 477–481.
22.^ Jump up to: a b Hasselriis, Peter (February 1991). "All Toothpastes Are Equal (=Best):William Lutz's "Doublespeak" Doublespeak: From "Revenue Enhancement" to "Terminal Living" --How Government, Business, Advertisers, and Others Use Language to Deceive You by William Lutz". The English Journal 80 (2): 91–92.
23.Jump up ^ Kehl, D.G; Howard Livingston (July 1999). "Doublespeak Detection for the English Classroom". The English Journal 88 (6).
24.Jump up ^ Lutz, William. "Fourteen Years of Doublespeak". The English Journal 77 (3).
25.Jump up ^ "NCTE: The Doublespeak Award".
26.Jump up ^ Kelly, Tom (December 21, 1991). "Rape trial deserved award for doublespeak". The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec).

References[edit]
Baar, James (2004). Spinspeak II: The Dictionary Of Language Pollution. ISBN 978-1-4184-2742-9.
Edward S. Herman (1992). Beyond Hypocrisy: Decoding the News in an Age of Propaganda : Including A Doublespeak Dictionary for the 1990s. Black Rose Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-895431-48-3.
Lutz, William. (1987). Doublespeak: From "Revenue Enhancement" to "Terminal Living": How Government, Business, Advertisers, and Others Use Language to Deceive You. New York: Harper & Row
Lutz, William (1989). Beyond 1984: Doublespeak in a Post-Orwellian Age. National Council of Teachers of English. ISBN 978-0-8141-0285-5.

External links[edit]

Look up doublespeak in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Business Doublespeak A short essay by William Lutz
Booknotes interview with William Lutz on Doublespeak: The Use of Language to Deceive You, December 31, 1989.
DoubleSpeak Homepage by Michele Damron (1998)
National Council of Teachers of English Doublespeak Award established in 1974
 

 


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Old News ;-)

[Aug 21, 2017] Debunking the Myth of Free Speech

Notable quotes:
"... Consider broadcast television, which was a vastly more important political force in the 1960s and 1970s than now. The three major networks, along with the two national news magazines, Time and Newsweek, shaped mass culture. And they all stayed tightly within a relatively narrow spectrum of civic views and social norms. ..."
"... Formal and informal censorship of television was extensive. By happenstance, I once met Dan Rowan of Rowan's and Martin's Laugh-In, which ran from 1968 to 1973. He described some of their regular fights with censors. I wish I recalled the details (this was over 30 years ago) but the impression I had was that Laugh-In was seen as being close enough to being transgressive that every show was reviewed before airing. Histories of censorship of television make clear that most of it was done by the broadcasters themselves, some of it presumably based on an understanding of what the FCC would tolerate, but also based on the advertisers' view of what the mass audience and mass values were. ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
August 20, 2017 by Yves Smith Thanks to a huge and well-organized police presence, as well as strict limits imposed on the participants, follow-up to the "Unite the Right" white supremacist event in Charlottesville, the "Boston Free Speech" rally on Saturday demonstrated that the community wasn't about to cut extreme right wing agitators much slack :

"We probably had 40,000 people out here standing tall against hatred and bigotry in our city, and that's a good feeling," [Boston Police] Commissioner [William] Evans said.

The permit covered only 100 people. The city prohibited anyone carrying weapons, bats or other potential bludgeons, such as sticks to carry posters, glass containers and cans, sharp objects, and shields from coming to Boston Common. There were some small scale skirmishes and the police arrested 33, mainly for disorderly conduct.

The far right participants did not get to finish their agenda. The event broke up early as, per the Wall Street Journal , "a huge throng of counterprotesters approached Boston Common."

Some will contend, as the organizers of the event have, that their "free speech right" was violated. Does this claim stand up to scrutiny?

Contrary to popular mythology, the right to speak has always had limits in the US. In fact, we live in what amounts to a free speech Wild West compared to what existed in my childhood, and this isn't due just to the Citizens United decision.

Consider broadcast television, which was a vastly more important political force in the 1960s and 1970s than now. The three major networks, along with the two national news magazines, Time and Newsweek, shaped mass culture. And they all stayed tightly within a relatively narrow spectrum of civic views and social norms.

Broadcast spectrum has always been explicitly recognized to be a commons, yet it has never been a "free speech" zone. From Michael O'Malley, Associate Professor of History and Art History, George Mason University:

Like radio broadcasters, television broadcasters operated under the authority of the FCC, the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC was established by Franklin Roosevelt with the assumption that the airwaves, the broadcast "bandwidth," belonged to the people, much in the same way as, for example, federal forest land belongs to the people. Broadcasters applied for a license to use a section of that public property, a specific frequency.

Formal and informal censorship of television was extensive. By happenstance, I once met Dan Rowan of Rowan's and Martin's Laugh-In, which ran from 1968 to 1973. He described some of their regular fights with censors. I wish I recalled the details (this was over 30 years ago) but the impression I had was that Laugh-In was seen as being close enough to being transgressive that every show was reviewed before airing. Histories of censorship of television make clear that most of it was done by the broadcasters themselves, some of it presumably based on an understanding of what the FCC would tolerate, but also based on the advertisers' view of what the mass audience and mass values were.

But what about "free speech" in the context of the Boston right-wing rally? Let us turn over the mike to Neil W, who weighed in via e-mail:

Charlottesville was not an exercise in free speech. There's no such thing as free speech. Seriously. It's a myth. An absolute tolerance for speech is neither defined in our Constitution nor our jurisprudence. There's protected speech. And there's speech that is not protected. Look at the list of types of speech defined in law as not being protected.

Do you see the commonality in there? It's harm . Speech that is not protected by law ultimately creates or perpetuates harm . Hate speech creates harm . Stanley Fish, discussing a Jeremy Waldron thesis:

"The very point of hate speech, [Waldron] says, "is to negate the implicit assurance that a society offers to the members of vulnerable groups -- that they are accepted as a matter of course, along with everyone else." Purveyors of hate "aim to undermine this assurance, call it in question, and taint it with visible expressions of hatred, exclusion and contempt." What the Vice video, and most of the other Charlottesville coverage, shows is an exercise in hate speech.

Hate speech creates harm that is arguably more egregious than any related to the types of speech in the above list. And yet, our political mythology demands that hate speech be tolerated regardless of the obvious and well documented harm it causes because there is some mysterious greater harm awaiting us should we act to extend to all of our citizens the implicit assurance incorporated into our Constitution and protections from harm found in our jurisprudence. Other countries have hate speech laws. The United States is long past due.

We don't know what might have been said at the Boston event, particularly since the roster of speakers was changing up to right before the event. But we have clues.

Even though one of the six organizers, John Medlar, said he was a libertarian and denounced hate groups, at a minimum, scheduling this event as a follow-up to Charlottesville wasn't consistent with that branding. Even the people planning protests on a clearly unrelated issue, the firing of Google's James Damore, postponed demonstrations that were also originally set for this weekend to distance them from Charlottesville.

And it looks like the "Boston Free Speech" leaders, whether intentionally or not, were trying to have it both ways. From Boston.com last week :

John Medlar, who says he is an organizer for Boston Free Speech, the group behind the rally, told Boston.com that his group is not associated with the white supremacists who marched with tiki torches in Charlottesville last weekend. But the group has said in comments on a Facebook post that there would be "overlap" in attendance between the two rallies .

Boston Free Speech posted an updated list Friday of the rally's speakers, which includes Joe Biggs, who worked until recently for Infowars, the website founded by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones; and Kyle Chapman, known on the internet as "Based Stickman" and founder of the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, which is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "new Alt-Right group of street fighters."

Some speakers initially billed for the rally, such as Gavin McInnes, a former Vice Media co-founder and founder of the Proud Boys, a far-right group, dropped out following a Monday press conference by Boston officials condemning the event.

As Micheal Olenick pointed out, both France and Germany have laws against hate speech, yet they are not stymied robust political debate, nor the rise of far-right candidates like Marine Le Pen.

Although US exceptionalism means we are loath to look overseas and crib from successful policies implemented elsewhere, the time is overdue for us to catch up here. City officials implemented an anti-hate-speech standard in Boston in a clumsy manner. We might as well do it right.

[Aug 20, 2017] Question "Should we just assume that everything politicians say is hot air?" Answer: We do not have to assume that everything politicians say is hot air. We know that it is

The problem here is complete lack of accountability before electorate typical for two party system when election campaign are financed by "bin money" and first of all be financial oligarchy.
That create intense desire to preserve at least Potemkin and corresponding abuse of the language. Neoliberalism also in interesting phenomenon in this respect as it tries to hide its goals and instead tried to create special language "neoliberal newspeak" that presents completely fake, distorted picture of its ideology. unlike communists thy are afraid toi tell people the truth (although communists after coming to power resorted to the same set of tricks too) "Free market" is a classic example here. what is so free in "free from regulation" market. It is not a fair market. It definitely favors the biggest players.
Notable quotes:
"... "Politics and the English Language" was not intended as a Bible for writers, but a warning against the abuses of language for political purposes ..."
"... We, citizens not subjects, individuals not members of groups, know what politicians are going to say before they say it. Indeed, a rule of thumb, if you're in any way interested in the truth, is to believe the opposite of the claim made by the politician, especially by those in the highest positions of power. This is especially true when an assertion is prefaced with "Let me be perfectly clear . . . " We citizens know that we are about to be lied to. It's a dead giveaway, so obvious only a college professor or a journalist could miss it. ..."
"... The classic contemporary case is this Clintonism: "Mistakes were made." ..."
"... This catchphrase has now been incorporated into the DNA of politicians and overweening government bureaucrats. Losing the subject, the listener is lulled into accepting the indefinite diffusion of responsibility, as though no one commited a mistake, no human and moral agency were necessary, and that somehow the mistake emerged spontaneously. ..."
"... I will continue to admire Orwell and his work, apply "Orwellian" to every mind-numbing banality out of the mouths of Obama and his cronies and supporters, and to resist journalists and all other thought police. ..."
"... I'm surprised that Poole never refers to Hugh Kenner's classic essay, "The Politics of the Plain." One of Kenner's most interesting arguments is that plain prose can be used deceitfully by politicians just as effectively as purple prose; we are less likely to question a proposition if it is confidently stated as fact.. In the United States today we are inundated with "plain speaking" from tabloid newspapers, talk radio, and populist pundits on radio and television. It is almost impossible to carry on an intelligent conversation with somebody who has been indoctrinated by these bald-faced liars. ..."
"... There's a problem right there : this essay CANNOT be looked at on its own, historically, but rather as a kind of intellectual foreword to 1984. ..."
"... I guess, euphemism is an inescapable part of politics as it mitigates some brutal expressions and meanings that often underly some unwanted action. ..."
"... To paraphrase Shaw, there is only one golden rule of writing: There are no golden rules. Take the passive voice, for instance; it is not innately deficient nor always inappropriate. To pick a current example, read the opening few paragraphs of Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies . Dotted with the passive voice, it is beautiful, evocative and flowing. Her prose is so much better than anything Orwell managed ..."
"... Orwell's is a welcome contribution to the campaign to stop trivialisation and perversion of language by interest groups, be they politicians, oligarchs, managers and even one of Orwell's favourite targets, 'the intelligentsia'. ..."
"... Orwell's point is that the aim of political language is falsehood and deception, and that reducing it to the bare bones will give the lies nowhere to hide. It's hard to disagree but it's hardly an original thought (Cicero, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Sheridan, Shaw, Chesterton are just a few others who have made the same point.) ..."
"... in our time, weaponised soundbites are deliberately engineered to smuggle the greatest amount of persuasion into the smallest space, to be virally replicated on rolling news. In my book on modern political rhetoric, I called this Unspeak. ..."
"... Fiona Bruce [who else] carefully articulating from the auto cue ...a doctor has been struck for not recording the abuse of prisoners by British soldiers....abuse ..would Orwell have used the word 'torture' ..."
"... I think Orwell wanted to get his message out, and therefore was quite stark with his premise about the way politicians use words to hoodwink their people ..."
"... As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | theguardian.com

sdylan , 28 Jan 2013 13:01

Your problem with Orwell is your complete failure to grasp his point.

"Politics and the English Language" was not intended as a Bible for writers, but a warning against the abuses of language for political purposes, at a time when the stakes were very high.

He did not mean to suggest that certain techniques (foreign phrases, passive tense) should never be used; only that writers be judicious and think before using them. "Is this really the best way to get your point across, or are you just obfuscating?" That's why he included his caveat at the end, which even you could not fail to notice.

Anyone who's gotten a university degree recently will see that his advice is still routinely ignored by academics, who write badly as a matter of pride.

And I wish most green text e-mails (such as yours) were as insightful as Orwell's essay.

meridianman , 27 Jan 2013 11:43
Steven: You pose the question "Should we just assume that everything politicians say is hot air?"

Answer: We do not have to assume that everything politicians say is hot air. We know that it is.

We, citizens not subjects, individuals not members of groups, know what politicians are going to say before they say it. Indeed, a rule of thumb, if you're in any way interested in the truth, is to believe the opposite of the claim made by the politician, especially by those in the highest positions of power. This is especially true when an assertion is prefaced with "Let me be perfectly clear . . . " We citizens know that we are about to be lied to. It's a dead giveaway, so obvious only a college professor or a journalist could miss it.

You're a bit rough on Orwell and his famous essay. You chastise him for his pedantic rules, and then you fault him for his seeing the limitations of slavish adherence to rules. Which is it? At least Orwell possessed the virtue of self-criticism. I doubt that epistemological humility or Socratic doubt is something you think about much.

You're flat wrong about the passive voice. Orwell and many other usage mavens recognize what you do not: the passive voice is the most widespread linguistic means of evading responsibility or accountability. The classic contemporary case is this Clintonism: "Mistakes were made."

This catchphrase has now been incorporated into the DNA of politicians and overweening government bureaucrats. Losing the subject, the listener is lulled into accepting the indefinite diffusion of responsibility, as though no one commited a mistake, no human and moral agency were necessary, and that somehow the mistake emerged spontaneously.

Orwell does go hard on the word "gleichschaltung," a German word tailor-made for the government-sponsored media age in which we made. The term means the comprehensive bringing into line with the exclusive narrative disseminated by the administration in power. You do not mention "gleichschaltung" specifically, and it's little wonder. Orwell had you and yours pegged.

I will continue to admire Orwell and his work, apply "Orwellian" to every mind-numbing banality out of the mouths of Obama and his cronies and supporters, and to resist journalists and all other thought police.

geoffreyalexander , 26 Jan 2013 18:40
A literary mentor of mine once advised, "Write as clearly and directly as you can, and try to avoid clichés." I've found that it's remarkably difficult to do even that much well.
James McCaffery , 25 Jan 2013 15:41
I'm surprised that Poole never refers to Hugh Kenner's classic essay, "The Politics of the Plain." One of Kenner's most interesting arguments is that plain prose can be used deceitfully by politicians just as effectively as purple prose; we are less likely to question a proposition if it is confidently stated as fact.. In the United States today we are inundated with "plain speaking" from tabloid newspapers, talk radio, and populist pundits on radio and television. It is almost impossible to carry on an intelligent conversation with somebody who has been indoctrinated by these bald-faced liars.
alanwskinner -> FredDee , 21 Jan 2013 06:49
I beg to differ. The essay can be fully appreciated without reference to, or knowledge of, Nineteen Eight-Four. The reverse might be true; if one feels a compelling need to validate or further explore concepts - which are, in any case, fully-formed in the book - then this essay might help.

It is easier to trace the birth of this essay by reading Orwell's earlier work, especially his work after 1937. His dismay at the manipulation of truth, which led him to make his remark to Koestler that 'History stopped in 1936' becomes a marked feature of his work.

It would also be a short history tracing the journey from 'Politics and the English Language to Nineteen Eight-Four, given that there is a scant two years from the publication of the essay to the publication of the novel.

It is hardly surprising that the word, cliché doesn't appear, given Orwell's opposition to the use of foreign words; and that the purpose of the essay is to act as a style guide not for writing but for thinking. Actually, in that context, I have no doubt Orwell would prefer an honest, instantly recognisable and unequivocal cliché to the obfuscating terminology he lambasts in the article.

JoyceDavenport , 21 Jan 2013 01:42
Dwarf stands on the shoulders of a giant in order to proclaim how much farther he can see.
JoyceDavenport -> Longhaultrucker , 21 Jan 2013 01:26
This disturbed me too, when I managed to work out that he was criticizing Orwell and that 'nod' was being used in the sense of 'nodding off', I.e. lack of attention in using the expression 'purge' rather than a 'nod' i.e. a knowing acknowledgement of the fact the the expression was a euphemism for the horrors that took place.

The whole article is littered with forced attempts at erudition and 'cleverness' at the expense of clarity of meaning. I think Orwell would have, rightly, been indignant that a writer with such a poor grasp of clear language should lay such criticisms at his door.

FredDee , 20 Jan 2013 16:12

"a standalone edition of "Politics and the English Language".

There's a problem right there : this essay CANNOT be looked at on its own, historically, but rather as a kind of intellectual foreword to 1984.

Take your own quote :

"Political language [ ] is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."

How near is that idea to the concept of 'doublethink' ? Historically, how exactly did Orwell progress from one to the other ?

As for myself, when I first read the essay there was one word conspicuous by its absence : cliché.

Pause to allow readers to say how they avoid clichés like the plague.

One, probably oversimple, way of looking at the essay is to discuss how it is really about 'thinking in cliché' or, rather, how if what you say or write is in any way clichéd then, to be brutally honest, you are not thinking at all.

Longhaultrucker -> alanwskinner , 18 Jan 2013 09:36
@alanwskinner - Orwell's principles are explicitly about writing about politics. I don't think he claims they cover fiction - or poetry. He doesn't say they're hard and fast rules - he explicitly says the opposite. It remains the fact that people would be writing and speaking about politics in the English-speaking world far more clearly now if more people were adhering to Orwell's principles.
MarlowePI , 18 Jan 2013 08:40
Gosh this piece meanders. Why don't we all read some Orwell instead... much more fun.
Mestfa English , 18 Jan 2013 07:47
Well, i don't see Orwell's works as an assault to politics ; it is rather a criticism that anyone can have about anything, let alone politics where lies and fraud are prevalent features. I guess, euphemism is an inescapable part of politics as it mitigates some brutal expressions and meanings that often underly some unwanted action. What i see mavrick is as was was against language exchange. I have never heard of a language that is 100 per cent pure which does not go through the process of borrowing?
alanwskinner -> Longhaultrucker , 18 Jan 2013 03:27
I'm afraid I don't share your enthusiasm for the essay, nor its usefulness to a writer. Orwell's six rules constitute a guide on how to avoid bad writing, not a guide on how to write well.

Writers who write by rules set by others shackle whatever degree of talent they have, though it could be argued that the smaller the talent, the greater the need for rules.

To paraphrase Shaw, there is only one golden rule of writing: There are no golden rules. Take the passive voice, for instance; it is not innately deficient nor always inappropriate. To pick a current example, read the opening few paragraphs of Mantel's Bring Up the Bodies . Dotted with the passive voice, it is beautiful, evocative and flowing. Her prose is so much better than anything Orwell managed.

alanwskinner , 18 Jan 2013 02:03
You are a very brave man, Mr Poole, to even suggest any criticism of St George in the Guardian. To many, he is the first and last word on all things political and literary - even by those who have read none of his first or last words, or any in between, for that matter.

I do happen to agree with you that the essay in question, while quite apt in many aspects, is neither groundbreaking nor without some strange idiosyncrasies. Many before him have noted how language is demeaned and rendered senseless by abuse. Despite that, Orwell's is a welcome contribution to the campaign to stop trivialisation and perversion of language by interest groups, be they politicians, oligarchs, managers and even one of Orwell's favourite targets, 'the intelligentsia'.

Orwell's point is that the aim of political language is falsehood and deception, and that reducing it to the bare bones will give the lies nowhere to hide. It's hard to disagree but it's hardly an original thought (Cicero, Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Sheridan, Shaw, Chesterton are just a few others who have made the same point.)

And those who hold up Orwell's six rules of writing as their six guiding style lights, would do well to remember the first sentence of the second paragraph after the rules:

"I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought."

Rules not aimed at writers but political posturers. (And some readers may note the regrettable crudeness of construction of Orwell's sentence. St George, for all his virtues, was quite capable of falling off his high horse once in a while.)

And anyone interested in the way language is still hijacked and abused could do worse than to read Don Watson's Wesel Words as a starting point.

WSobchak , 17 Jan 2013 20:32

in our time, weaponised soundbites are deliberately engineered to smuggle the greatest amount of persuasion into the smallest space, to be virally replicated on rolling news. In my book on modern political rhetoric, I called this Unspeak.

No-one else did, whereas Orwell's words and phrases are still widely used.
Longhaultrucker , 17 Jan 2013 20:24
Incidentally, the idea that Orwell uses the term "purges" as a euphemism is frankly offensive. Orwell spent much of his short life fighting ideologues of the left as well as the right to argue that both what was happening in the Soviet Union was appalling, wrong and a terrible distortion of socialism. He wrote two of the 20th century's greatest polemics against totalitarianism, specifically left-wing totalitarianism in the case of Animal Farm. He was fiercely critical of people who had literally been his comrades in arms in A Homage to Catalonia. He's using "purges" for the sake of brevity, knowing that his audience knows full well the horror of the dreadful range of behaviours involved. To say anything else is to try to be clever clever at the expense of a man who expended considerable professional and emotional effort arguing against Stalinism.
Longhaultrucker , 17 Jan 2013 20:19
I sometimes have to write about "defence companies". In tribute to Orwell, I try, as much as I can, to refer to them as military contractors.

All I can say, again, is read the essay. It says as much by how it says things - by being a perfect example of an argumentative essay - as it does by telling one how to write an argumentative essay.

fucia , 17 Jan 2013 19:55
Fiona Bruce [who else] carefully articulating from the auto cue ...a doctor has been struck for not recording the abuse of prisoners by British soldiers....abuse ..would Orwell have used the word 'torture'

The fire discipline of the Parachute Regimate was 'bordering on the reckless'
description of the shooting to death demonstrators.

Orwell good in pointing out the semantic somersalts of euphamisms of the Governing classes when cornered.

HegemonyOrBust , 17 Jan 2013 18:38
I dunno Steven, perhaps the thing is, unlike a book that tries to cover the same ground - "Unspeak" by errrr Steven Poole, would be a good example - perhaps the point is, "Politics and the English Language" both makes sense and is readable. Timelessly so.

Unlike, say, "Unspeak" by errr Steven Poole, which according to Wikipedia: received a hostile review in the Guardian from former British government communications chief Alastair Campbell, who wrote: "I am not quite sure what Poole is trying to say."

By the way, you use "Shibboleth" completely wrongly in this context. Anyone could campaign for Plain English, it's not word, sound, or custom that a person unfamiliar with its significance may not pronounce or perform correctly relative to those who are familiar with it, or used to identify foreigners or those who do not belong to a particular class or group of people, nor does it refer to features of language, and particularly to a word or phrase whose pronunciation identifies a speaker as belonging to a particular group. In fact, one could argue that "Plain English" (and I find it tedious, too) is the very opposite of a shibboleth - an immigrant with very basic English skills is unlikely to use jargon or high-falutin' words, they would more likely speak in a Plain English manner.

Witters , 17 Jan 2013 18:14
Dear Steven,

You article didn't impress me, but I'm certain it impressed you.

Fromibizatothebroads , 17 Jan 2013 18:06
I think Orwell wanted to get his message out, and therefore was quite stark with his premise about the way politicians use words to hoodwink their people. This was all the more important in the chaotic aftermath of WW2 when there was no TV or other easy visual means whereby people might gauge the body language of the demagogues or opportunists in their midst.

If Orwell did not put out The Politics of the English Language, would there have been anybody else with his imaginative good sense to warn the liberal intellectuals of the day?

Orwell's favourite book was Gulliver's Travels: so he enjoyed the inventive use of language. Presumably Gulliver's Travels was before "cup de sac" and similar imports were incorporated into English.

saintpellegrino , 17 Jan 2013 17:55
Let's have one quote:

As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse.

I mean, jesus, if that isn't still an absolutely fucking resounding shot through the heart of shit writing, everywhere.

fuzon -> EricaNernie , 17 Jan 2013 17:49
The use of Orwell by the likes of Hitchens has only brought the earlier writer into disrepute.
MistressG -> ThomasOMalley , 17 Jan 2013 17:07
@ThomasOMalley - Sadly, no, it wasn't obvious.

The problem I have with Orwell in D&O is, of course, the way he mentions Jewish people. And I don't think it's good enough to pass off what he wrote as early-20th Century stereotypes; this is Orwell and, like it or not, we hold him up much higher than the common man from that period. I don't get the impression that Orwell sees jewish people as human beings, they're all just 'jews' to him. And if he was unhappy with how his friend Boris goes on about Jews, I didn't get any hint that Orwell cared - or else he would have said so; he has no problem in other parts of the book making his opinion clear. Orwell even says himself on one occasion: "It would have been a pleasure to flatten the Jew's nose." He clearly couldn't see beyond their being jewish.

It's a horrible, offensive piece of writing by Orwell. And it's a real shame.

Edgewick , 17 Jan 2013 15:19
We shouldn't sanctify Orwell, but his essay is more right than wrong. The stuff put out by managers, business, public relations and even some branches of academia is often simply verbiage. But you have to go along with this sort of stuff if you want to get anywhere. That is corruption - exactly as Orwell said.
wenders14 , 17 Jan 2013 14:31
Leave off Mr Blair..he was big news in his day and not many writers can withstand the assault of revisionism.
FrogStar -> smudger1 , 17 Jan 2013 14:17
Sometimes it isn't 'xenophobia' (fear of foreigners) so much as 'heterophobia' (fear of those different from yourself).
calumcm , 17 Jan 2013 13:24
In 'Shame', Salman Rushdie - who wasn't all that keen on Orwell either - refers to an 'opaque, world-wide set of concepts which refuse to travel across linguistic frontiers'; 'to unlock a society' he writes, 'look at its untranslatable words'.

That's the idea Orwell's getting at (albeit less floridly) when he dismisses 'foreign words'. He sees them as impermeable to English experience. Is that a xenophobic point of view? I'm not sure.

He makes the point explicitly in reference to Marxist jargon in 'The English People' (1947, written in 1944): 'It is significant that English revolutionary writers are obliged to use a bastard vocabulary whose key phrases are mostly translations. There are no native words for most of the concepts they are dealing with. Even the word "proletarian", for instance is not English and the great majority of English people do not know what it means". Is this trivial? Again, I'm not sure.

(I am sure: it's not).

HudsonP , 17 Jan 2013 12:47
I work in an industry loaded with jargon and murky prose, often at the behest of legal and compliance who think they're protecting consumers through piling on the verbiage. Politics and the English Language remains one of the keenest tools in my box for explaining why this is a mistake.

Much of it is the kind of nonsense screed against linguistic pet hates that anyone today might compose in a green-text email to the newspapers.

Really, the mind boggles. That's just trolling.

thepigeonwhisperer , 17 Jan 2013 12:36
yeah i have a problem as well. The ending of animal farm is one of the biggest ambigous ending in literature history
Longhaultrucker , 17 Jan 2013 12:24
I return again and again to the principles of Politics and the English Language in my work (I write for a living). You're having to fish around its margins to find things wrong with it and it remains heroically relevant to modern-day English. One of his core points is that one shouldn't be using metaphors that don't bring to mind a vivid image (because those that don't have become cliches). How much better and clearer would nearly all contemporary writing be if everyone stuck to that principle? The active is better than the passive because using the active one has to make clear who is doing what to whom. People often use the passive voice to inject vagueness, which is almost never a good thing (a tiny example: this sentence would be woolier if I'd written, "The passive voice is often used to inject vagueness"). Short words are better because they're generally clearer and more direct. People also often use words of foreign derivation in preference to Anglo-Saxon ones because the Anglo-Saxon words' meaning is clearer and more direct.

Orwell's message remains fabulously relevant amid our current discontents. While I don't agree with this article, I can only hope that it has the virtue of pushing a few more people to read Orwell's stirring essay - which is both a hugely useful manual for aspiring writers and a fabulous worked example of how to write.

Ayearofreadingwomen , 17 Jan 2013 12:15

Orwell's eccentric final tip-list includes "Never use a long word where a short one will do" (why ever not?), and "Never use the passive where you can use the active."

Not sure I'd call these eccentric. Both contribute to clarity and cutting the crap in writing. If you make sure there isn't a shorter word that would do in place of the one you're using it means you are thinking carefully about the precise meaning of what you're saying. And if you only allow yourself the passive on high days and holy days, you force yourself to say who did what to whom, rather than hiding behind the idea of a vague, nameless someone.

Most writers who've been at this game a decent length of time will have their own personal stylistic rules. One of mine concerns the word 'somehow'. Whenever I use it in a sentence it generally means I am fudging and haven't found the write verb. I always have to go back and double-check the joists when 'somehow' rears its ugly head.

R042 -> R042 , 17 Jan 2013 11:54
I'd like to think "Politics and the English Language", if it were written today, would address that kind of non-statement that afflicts modern discourse.
R042 , 17 Jan 2013 11:53
I think we're all, as a people, shocked, appalled and horrified at the regrettable events that have transpired. It is clear that mistakes were made at the highest level to allow such a tragedy to happen and we promise firm and rapid action will be taken to deal with the causes of the problem.

As a result an independent enquiry will be established in order to determine the correct way to move forward from these tragic events, and we hope this will allow those affected by it to move on.

normalvision , 17 Jan 2013 11:18
One should not overlook the best advice for writers in "Politics and the English Languge":

In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualizing you probably hunt about until you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning.

[Jul 27, 2017] The term "conspiracy theory" to be tacit embedded coded language, but language that "explicitly" denotes "a surreptitious shared agenda".

Jul 27, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

blues | Jul 27, 2017 9:45:27 AM | 103

=>> Cortes | 11:06:19 PM | 87 -- You say:
"The pejorative use of conspiracy theory needs to be tackled head on."

That may not be so difficult if we first discern the term "conspiracy theory" to be tacit embedded coded language, but language that "explicitly" denotes "a surreptitious shared agenda". But this is definitely not the true currently prevalent official meaning at all. The currently prevalent meaning is actually "non-official theory" -- that is, a theory that is contrary to the theory that is officially endorsed by the dominant imperial media. In other words, an "anti-imperial theory". In the most common context the de facto meaning is completely detached from the de jure meaning.

[Jul 10, 2017] Crapification of The New York Times by Lambert Strether

Notable quotes:
"... By Lambert Strether of Corrente . ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Media criticism has the term "blooper ..."
"... Naturally, the cheaper the show, the greater the chance of bloopers. I think the ongoing ruination of the Times is shown in the bloopers I am about to present. I'm going to start with some technical bloopers in the Arts Section, and then move on to what I might term Cognitive Bloopers in the Business Section. ..."
"... Clip "Intelligence Agencies" ..."
"... ...It's always interesting to watch major institutions in a process of decay and disintegration. ..."
"... For a real treat go back and read the NYT for the day of the Yeltsin coup and the storming of the Duma. Every rhetorical trick in the book was unleashed against the legislature being attacked actually, if I remember correctly, they were described as "holed up" in the building. I treasure my paper copy of that one. ..."
Jul 09, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on July 9, 2017 By Lambert Strether of Corrente .

Yesterday, Saturday, I had to go the mall to make a purchase, and since the four-hour round trip gives me plenty of time to read, I bought a copy of The New York Times and read it carefully. I came away discouraged. There is a lot of ruin in a great newspaper.

I used to work "the newspaper business," several careers ago, albeit on weeklies and in production. And I came away with the sense of what a wonderful production -- all senses -- a newspaper is; how intricately and carefully the pieces fit together, and the craft that goes into assembling the news into a pattern that's easily grasped by the reader. Day after day! Indeed, hundreds of years have gone into perfecting the craft of composing pages, and I still feel reading a printed , broadsheet newspaper is a more productive use of my time -- if comprehension and stories I would otherwise miss or skip be the goal -- than reading on a laptop, let trying to get a sense of the news flow through the teensy keyhole of a cellphone's screen.

Media criticism has the term "blooper ," an embarrassing error . Seeking bloopers is usually a mild form of voyeurism, where on-screen indiscretions by announcers and performers are detected and ridiculed. But bloopers can also be "technical," as when the shadow of a boom appears in the shot, or the blood-spewing machine malfunctions . Naturally, the cheaper the show, the greater the chance of bloopers. I think the ongoing ruination of the Times is shown in the bloopers I am about to present. I'm going to start with some technical bloopers in the Arts Section, and then move on to what I might term Cognitive Bloopers in the Business Section. (I'm using images that I took when I got back to the house, partly because the images make the sheer scale of the times enterprise so clear, and partly to honor the craft of print production.)

... ... ..

And if we scan elsewhere in the paper, we find more cognitive bloopers:

Clip "DNC" : " did deny investigators access to their servers. But it gave the bureau information that later pointed "

Clip "Intelligence Agencies" : " something American intelligence agencies have testified under oath they know took place."

In what world do we have "prominent communicators" (clip (B) above) evading regulatory scrutiny by using encrypted, self-destructing communications channels while simultaneously mere oaths from intelligence officials, and unverifiable information from the DNC are both regarded as dispositive? Apparently the world that Times editors and publishers live in, since they are responsible for the entire newspaper, read all of this, and their heads haven't exploded![3]

Conclusion

An institution that displays adaptability by systematically crapifying its product and encouraging executive doublethink may indeed be long for this world. But if it is, I'm not sure I want to live in that world. And that's a loss; I love newspapers. Anyhow, I hope if you read the Sunday Times this afternoon, you'll have fun finding more bloopers!

ambrit July 9, 2017 at 2:20 pm

Hmmm So, the Intelligence Agencies, departments of the Government can testify under oath? Ur, was there a Supreme court decision extending "personhood" to Federal agencies? Otherwise, 'agency' is granted to Agencies. Shouldn't that have been "officials from the Intelligence Agencies testified under oath to" the following?
Goodness knows that I have numerous and risible problems with grammar and usage, but then, I do not make my living, meagre though it is, at copy editing. (Hmmm Didn't e. e. cummings have some considerable fun with just that?)

timotheus July 9, 2017 at 3:02 pm

Intelligence agencies cannot testify (or attest) under oath (or in secret deposition) because they don't have speech organs. Maybe NSA has robots trained in ASL. Or perhaps Trump's people have ingeniously replaced them all with AIs with Siri- or Alexa-like speech functions. Not a bad idea!

Lambert Strether July 9, 2017 at 2:47 pm

...It's always interesting to watch major institutions in a process of decay and disintegration.

Your mileage may vary, and apparently does. Do feel free to find the happiness you seek elsewhere!

Mike July 10, 2017 at 4:55 pm

The Times considers itself the best newspaper in America. Readers don't. Some small town papers do better but can't afford more investigation and they have to outsource news gathering.

When opinions and liberal interpretations replaced facts and letting the readers come to their own conclusions, journalism died. If the press is still an important check on the powerful in our democracy then perhaps we need more checks on the press. Vigilance can spot their agenda. Too bad the Internet and freedom of choice will kill all the major papers before everyone realizes the corruption in media.

CD July 9, 2017 at 7:55 pm

I fondly recall an article on the Times society page about the well-appointed retirement house of a former madam. The lady was clearly identified as such in the article.

The author wrote admiringly and at length about the house and its furnishings and so on.

This was about 2001 or 2002. After reading this article, I decided that the Times had entered the chute and was on the slippery slope down.

jo6pac July 9, 2017 at 8:13 pm

That might have been the last story the did with real reporting. Just saying everything since then has been co-written by govt. 3 letter names and just make it up. Editors are not needed saving $$$$$$$$$$$$$ for the owners.

It's a win-win for the great news noise machine. I use to read in northern Calli the SMJ and SFC every day they did a good job back in the day but now pull their stories from the same new service if they can be called that.

As Scoop Knisker called out (If you didn't like the news then go out and make up you're own) Something like that, KSAN in SF. Dirty hippies;-)

Viva! July 9, 2017 at 2:55 pm

Would not be surprised if Carlos Slim is involved in this crapification. He bought/stole the company for a song and jacked up the prices. The level of service of Telmex mobile is awful. Calls being cut all the time. Connection bad.

Donald July 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

Well speaking of bloopers, here is another NYT mistake from the world of physics --

http://mondoweiss.net/2017/07/smaller-aircraft-correction/

Propertius July 9, 2017 at 4:20 pm

I wonder if they didn't misquote Brin in the original article. He actually is a physicist (PhD, Space Physics, UCSD, 1981). It's unlikely that he would mistake a (back of the envelope scribbling) 13.5 MT equivalent for a planet-killing asteroid impact. The US and the USSR regularly detonated weapons as large or larger than that before the Test Ban Treaty.

Dave in Austin July 9, 2017 at 4:52 pm

For a real treat go back and read the NYT for the day of the Yeltsin coup and the storming of the Duma. Every rhetorical trick in the book was unleashed against the legislature being attacked actually, if I remember correctly, they were described as "holed up" in the building. I treasure my paper copy of that one.

The NYT was never perfect but go back to the microfilm of any day exactly 50 years ago and see the difference. They have ceased to provide news and have become Lippmanites. Remember Walter? He believed the purpose of the paper was in his words to "mould public opinion". And the free web version is even more slanted. Too bad. We could use a real newspaper of record.

Bukko Boomeranger July 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm

The web version is effectively free if you view the NYT on a browser where you delete the history frequently. That eliminates the cookies the NYT leaves to track when you've hit the 10-free-articles-per-month limit. I use Firefox for evading such restrictions at the Times, New York, WaPo etc., wiping out the trackingspies every time I close it, and employ another browser for sites where I don't mind them remembering me.

Kamote Cue July 10, 2017 at 12:52 pm

It's also free if you use your browser's Incognito or Privacy mode. Pretty handy on these sites that offer only a limited number of views.

ambrit July 9, 2017 at 7:02 pm

FREEDOM (TM) is never free Citizen. That's why everyone else hates us.

Pespi July 9, 2017 at 4:59 pm

Lambert, that bothers me to no end, they have so much money, but they have to pinch pennies on one of the main elements that lends unconscious credibility to their paper.

A friend of mine works for the NY Times, and he's said on several occasions that the company can not wait for the physical paper to die. They will starve it until it no longer generates a profit, until various capital expenditures are paid off, and they will let it die without compunction.

The Times is excellent at cognitive dissonance. They report the facts in one piece but the narrative prevails in a final attached paragraph, or vice versa.

Copy editors are a dying breed. Computers are no good at spotting cognitive errors, omitted words, mangled phrases, anything that isn't a misspelling (although they're fantastic at thinking proper nouns are misspelled words). I see errors in almost everything, even the most prestigious old media. I wouldn't publish anything serious without a second pair of eyes to scan it for boneheaded mistakes, I'm terrible at copy editing myself.

After all, why pay a human being a living wage to do a job when you can make ex posto facto corrections in response to commenters doing the editing for you?

Naked Capitalism has excellent editing, I could never produce the well researched and thought through copy you guys do without making mountains of egregious errors. I've probably made several in this post alone.

mrtmbrnmn July 9, 2017 at 5:19 pm

Can't count how often while reading the accumulation of lies, deceptions and sheer bunk constantly encountered in the "political" news of the "new" NY Times, I get the feeling my brain is melting and on the verge of oozing out my ears. It is deeply depressing and dispiriting considering that in the amnesia of history I was pleased to draw a paycheck from time to time from that old NY Times (r.i.p.).

rps July 9, 2017 at 9:39 pm

Judith Miller was the final nail in the NY times coffin.

ambrit July 9, 2017 at 9:11 pm

We're way past Hecht and MacArthur territory and into Kurosawa-samas' fiefdom now. The "reporters" are now consulting spooks to hone their copy.

Hana M July 9, 2017 at 9:51 pm

One of my favorite memories from growing up in the 50s and 60s in New York City was digging in on Sunday mornings to three great papers: the New York Herald-Tribune, the New York Times and the New York Journal-American (which we kids loved for the comics). My grandparents were New Deal Democrats, my parents new Republicans, and the debate was lively, civilized, and by today's standards, astonishingly well-informed.

There was always common ground to be found on the subject of style, layout, grammar, punctuation and spelling. Errors provoked ruthless bipartisan critiques turned into "teachable moments" for the kids. To this day I reflexively copy-edit the Times. Lambert is correct: standards have declined precipitously.

Perhaps more seriously, the lack of real intellectual diversity in news rooms means there are fewer and fewer opportunities for informed debate that bridges political divides.

[Jun 12, 2017] Modern America The Empire of Lies New Eastern Outlook

Notable quotes:
"... The notion that the United States is an empire of lies would be difficult to dispute by anyone who has followed the events of the last decade. It's a sad fact that today the absolute majority of Washington's policies along with the foundation of so-called "American democracy" are built upon blatant lies. ..."
"... The entire world witnessed former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in all seriousness displaying tubes with unknown substances in them before the UN Security Council, claiming they represented "convincing and incriminating" evidence against Iraq's Saddam Hussein, enough to launch a military attack against the nation. ..."
"... We remember how renowned American journalist, Pulitzer Prize Laureate Seymour Hersh, caught the US government officially disseminating lies about how "terrorist number one" Osama bin Laden was actually killed. ..."
"... He has also published an investigation piece under the title " Whose Sarin ", demonstrating that the US government and President Barack Obama personally, deliberately lied when they claimed that the Syrian government had used sarin poison gas back in 2013. It's been announced that Hersh was using information he had received from sources within the US intelligence community and the Pentagon. This evidence confirmed that both the White House statements and fraudulent propaganda unwound by the media, pursued the sole goal – to create a pretext for armed intervention in Syria and replace the government in Damascus with Washington's subordinates, thus taking full control of the country. ..."
"... Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton committed her second gaffe in as many days on the campaign trail Monday night, claiming that the US "did not lose a single person" in Libya during her time as secretary of state. To Hillary Clinton, the four male officials and warriors do not matter at all. They are at best an inconvenience. If they were alive, they would have to be dealt with, but because they are dead, they can be forgotten. ..."
"... So what behavior one can expect from most American citizens, including these "hero-swimmers", when even at the highest levels, officials are lying blatantly, while displaying no fear whatsoever of any potential consequences? ..."
"... In lies we trust here, it is our symbol and our flag, because we are the Empire of Lies. ..."
"... Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook." http://journal-neo.org/2016/08/20/modern-america-the-empire-of-lies-2/ ..."
Jun 12, 2017 | journal-neo.org
Modern America: The Empire of Lies Column: Society Region: USA in the World

The notion that the United States is an empire of lies would be difficult to dispute by anyone who has followed the events of the last decade. It's a sad fact that today the absolute majority of Washington's policies along with the foundation of so-called "American democracy" are built upon blatant lies.

So is it any wonder that so-called American "heroes" of the Rio Olympics: swimmers James Feigen, Ryan Lochte, Gunnar Benz and Jack Conger, provided false testimonies about them being robbed in a taxi on the way to the Olympic Village? It turns out now that nobody came as close as even attempting to rob them. Now these athletes may face charges of making false accusations in Brazil, along with being accused of discrediting the sitting Brazilian President Dilma Vana Rousseff who has been the prime target of Washington's meddling recently.

In all honesty, there is no need for being surprised, since these "hero-swimmers" have been educated regarding Washington's lies, encountered in virtually all aspects of an American's life. The White House has been lying its way through various attempts to overthrow unwanted governments and politicians upon the international stage, spreading disinformation through such CIA "benefactors" like George Soros.

The entire world witnessed former US Secretary of State Colin Powell in all seriousness displaying tubes with unknown substances in them before the UN Security Council, claiming they represented "convincing and incriminating" evidence against Iraq's Saddam Hussein, enough to launch a military attack against the nation.

We remember how renowned American journalist, Pulitzer Prize Laureate Seymour Hersh, caught the US government officially disseminating lies about how "terrorist number one" Osama bin Laden was actually killed.

He has also published an investigation piece under the title " Whose Sarin ", demonstrating that the US government and President Barack Obama personally, deliberately lied when they claimed that the Syrian government had used sarin poison gas back in 2013. It's been announced that Hersh was using information he had received from sources within the US intelligence community and the Pentagon. This evidence confirmed that both the White House statements and fraudulent propaganda unwound by the media, pursued the sole goal – to create a pretext for armed intervention in Syria and replace the government in Damascus with Washington's subordinates, thus taking full control of the country.

Moreover, the American Thinker would note that:

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton committed her second gaffe in as many days on the campaign trail Monday night, claiming that the US "did not lose a single person" in Libya during her time as secretary of state. To Hillary Clinton, the four male officials and warriors do not matter at all. They are at best an inconvenience. If they were alive, they would have to be dealt with, but because they are dead, they can be forgotten.

But honestly, what does one expect from the likes of Hillary Clinton if even the Washington Post wouldn't hesitate to present a video filled with her lies and "shifting positions?" Her ideas on Bosnia, healthcare, Wall Street, NAFTA are ever-shifting, since she's convinced that Americans are unable to memorize basic facts or recall even recent American history.

Accusing Hillary Clinton of blatant hypocrisy, alternative media source Counter Punch would use a hash tag #NeverHillary, while giving the recent Democrats' champion the following evaluation : "She's sleazy – a cheater and a liar", noting that she wanted to set the minimum wage at the level of 12 dollars per hour, but since Bernie's 15 dollars per hour was more popular, she claimed she wanted to introduce precisely the same wage. When pressed, she conceded she'd "like" 15 dollars per hour, but would not lift a finger to make it happen federally. Incredibly, she still conducts herself in this same manner.

The Baltimore Sun did not hesitate to accuse Clinton of the deliberate concealment of facts from Congress and the American people either, noting that the State Department's inspector general released a report last week concluding that Hillary Clinton is a breathtakingly brazen and consistent liar. What's infuriating about all of this is that it is not, in fact, news. Over a year ago, Hillary Clinton held a press conference at the United Nations with the intent to put the whole controversy around her released emails to rest, yet, nearly every significant statement she made was a lie, The Baltimore Sun would note, adding that we have known it for a year now, that from the earliest days of this scandal, Clinton was lying.

So what behavior one can expect from most American citizens, including these "hero-swimmers", when even at the highest levels, officials are lying blatantly, while displaying no fear whatsoever of any potential consequences? What's even more striking is that those liars are being promoted and encouraged in the US political establishment, and they are being allowed to occupy the highest political positions in the state, as if we are being told: " In lies we trust here, it is our symbol and our flag, because we are the Empire of Lies. "

Martin Berger is a freelance journalist and geopolitical analyst, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."
http://journal-neo.org/2016/08/20/modern-america-the-empire-of-lies-2/

[Jun 12, 2017] How useful is the word inequality ? not much as it is use as a typical sponge word like poor incread of low waged or underpaid

Mar 31, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Paine, March 29, 2017 at 02:43 PM
How useful is the word inequality ? typical sponge word like " poor " when u mean low waged

Or "middle class " when you mean high waged

The shares in GDP are zero sum at any one point in time


If the bottom wage rises fastest with some arrangement of wages
That ought to look preferred to anyone without any sense of where they'd land

Paine -> Paine ... , March 29, 2017 at 02:49 PM
Of course this is if your frame is the individual
and here's only a wage earning class
No exploiters allowed M

But if the exploiters arrive with their rag tag of proprietary types trailing them ?

Turn to a Class frame ?


Maximize the share of your class

Maximally unequal
Ie class dictatorship


Equality before the law

Equality in the voting booth
These are very different dimensions of social being
From equality of income

Income ...another sponge word M

libezkova -> Paine ... , March 29, 2017 at 07:06 PM
"like " poor "
when u mean low waged"

Distortion of the language is the main tool of neoliberalism.

the key to neoliberal propaganda.

Very similar to Bolshevism in this respect.

[Jan 20, 2017] Smokescreen created by neoliberal newspeak

Notable quotes:
"... this is a case study in the corruption of English language by neoliberalism. Very similar to the same corruption by other ideologies such as Marxism. New "weasel" terms are constantly introduced to make it more difficult to understand the reality: ..."
Jan 20, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
ilsm : , January 19, 2017 at 01:26 PM
Summers is talking to the center right lefties:
libezkova -> ilsm... , January 19, 2017 at 08:32 PM
this is a case study in the corruption of English language by neoliberalism. Very similar to the same corruption by other ideologies such as Marxism. New "weasel" terms are constantly introduced to make it more difficult to understand the reality:

For example:

Old words are re-defined differently as the word "free" in "free market". Free for what and for whom?

You just provided two more equivalences:

Bourdieu and Wacquant NewLiberal Newspeak

PDF is available from loicwacquant.net and radicalphilosophy.com

scribd.com

Global Financial Crisis| Neoliberal Newspeak and Digital Capitalism in Crisis

Paula Chakravartty, Dan Schiller
Changes in the practice of business journalism are a key element in the current financial crisis. The increasing emphasis on features and infotainment at the expense of hard news has distracted public attention from the reality of global economies.

In this article, we provide an overview of the dominant business and financial news media, primarily in the United States, but also in the urbanizing nations of China and India. We believe that it is too early to know what, if anything, has changed in terms of the dominance of neoliberal newspeak and we contend that rigorous scrutiny of business media is vital to global economic health.

Full Text:

PDF

Global Financial Crisistextbar Neoliberal Newspeak and Digital Capitalism in Crisis Paula Chakravartty - Academia.edu

The Understanding Stupidity

This systematic distortion of information makes human societies characteristically self-deceptive, with people disposed to believe they are living up to their ideals, particularly when they are not. The existing schematic dissonance is usually subconscious, due to the misleading nature of words, so society stumbles smugly along while at odds with itself, its environment and its equally stupid neighbors. In fact, the only really effective control of development comes not from inside but from physical limitations (what cannot be done) and competition with other groups which are also out of touch with themselves.

In general, internal criticism is of limited value as a control mechanism for growth and development of a social system. There usually tend to be few, if any, effective critics within any organization. When not dismissed out of hand as a crank or an outsider, anyone with valid criticism is made an outsider, as ostracism is a common reward for honesty, accuracy and integrity. Thus, criticism without power is largely wasted, producing little but woe for the bewildered critic himself.

Perhaps there are so few effective critics because anyone with any brains at all quickly finds that most human organizations just are not set up for effective criticism. The basic working assumption is that everything is just fine. Outside criticism is deflected and internal feedback is supposed to be positive reinforcement from "Yes men" promoting their careers by corrupting the mighty. At best, criticism has a place on the fringe, where cranks and comics can be tolerated as amusing diversions.

Can Truth Be Told When Using Selective Information "The trap of the permanent campaign is that you diminish statesmanship," Professor Gergen said. "Statesmen rise above the daily concern and look to the long haul."

Business marketing and politics often overlap in election campaigns. Someone vying for office is essentially trying to sell himself to voters. "When you are campaigning, you're like the businessman who has a limited responsibility, a limited set of people to whom you owe something," said Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life at Boston College and author of "Moral Freedom: The Search for Virtue in a World of Choice" (W. W. Norton).

But, increasingly, because of the fund-raising involved in running for national office, "you have to be in an almost permanent campaign mode," said David Gergen, now a professor of public service at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, who was an adviser to four presidents. "In politics, you fall into the trap of short-termism. You do whatever it takes to keep the headlines up today." This short-term thinking is not dissimilar to what causes some businesses to make poor decisions in trying to bolster stock prices or earnings reports.

"The trap of the permanent campaign is that you diminish statesmanship," Professor Gergen said. "Statesmen rise above the daily concern and look to the long haul."

BUT it's difficult to affect the long haul if you find yourself voted out of office. For that reason, Dick Morris, a former adviser to Mr. Clinton and the author of "Off with Their Heads: Traitors, Crooks and Obstructionists in American Politics, Media and Business" (Regan Books, 2003), said he thinks that "using polling and all of the tools of an election to help you govern is a good thing."

"It gets the president to be very aggressive in figuring out what he can do in an active way really to help the country," he added. "The motivation is to govern well so he can get elected."

Even if President Bush has to campaign constantly and, as a result, selectively uses information to sell his message, we still expect him to tell the truth. "If they decided to lie to make the case stronger that's simply unethical," said Mr. Gilman, who was a senior official at the United States Office of Government Ethics from 1988 to 2001. Mr. Gilman said he hopes that the president "got one bad piece of intelligence and the rest was correct."

Some political analysts say President Bush crossed a line in selectively using information by pointing to British intelligence to make an argument, when American intelligence doubted the claim. "As in all marketing, when you go too far, it creates a small cloud over you about credibility," Professor Gergen said.

There's more at stake when President Bush selectively uses information than when a business executive tries to move a product. The president's role clearly distinguishes his unique moral responsibility. As an executive, you don't order young men and women to give up their lives for a cause.

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ABUSE: IPs or network segments from which we detect a stream of probes might be blocked for no less then 90 days. Multiple types of probes increase this period.  

Society

Groupthink : Two Party System as Polyarchy : Corruption of Regulators : Bureaucracies : Understanding Micromanagers and Control Freaks : Toxic Managers :   Harvard Mafia : Diplomatic Communication : Surviving a Bad Performance Review : Insufficient Retirement Funds as Immanent Problem of Neoliberal Regime : PseudoScience : Who Rules America : Neoliberalism  : The Iron Law of Oligarchy : Libertarian Philosophy

Quotes

War and Peace : Skeptical Finance : John Kenneth Galbraith :Talleyrand : Oscar Wilde : Otto Von Bismarck : Keynes : George Carlin : Skeptics : Propaganda  : SE quotes : Language Design and Programming Quotes : Random IT-related quotesSomerset Maugham : Marcus Aurelius : Kurt Vonnegut : Eric Hoffer : Winston Churchill : Napoleon Bonaparte : Ambrose BierceBernard Shaw : Mark Twain Quotes

Bulletin:

Vol 25, No.12 (December, 2013) Rational Fools vs. Efficient Crooks The efficient markets hypothesis : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2013 : Unemployment Bulletin, 2010 :  Vol 23, No.10 (October, 2011) An observation about corporate security departments : Slightly Skeptical Euromaydan Chronicles, June 2014 : Greenspan legacy bulletin, 2008 : Vol 25, No.10 (October, 2013) Cryptolocker Trojan (Win32/Crilock.A) : Vol 25, No.08 (August, 2013) Cloud providers as intelligence collection hubs : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : Inequality Bulletin, 2009 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Copyleft Problems Bulletin, 2004 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Energy Bulletin, 2010 : Malware Protection Bulletin, 2010 : Vol 26, No.1 (January, 2013) Object-Oriented Cult : Political Skeptic Bulletin, 2011 : Vol 23, No.11 (November, 2011) Softpanorama classification of sysadmin horror stories : Vol 25, No.05 (May, 2013) Corporate bullshit as a communication method  : Vol 25, No.06 (June, 2013) A Note on the Relationship of Brooks Law and Conway Law

History:

Fifty glorious years (1950-2000): the triumph of the US computer engineering : Donald Knuth : TAoCP and its Influence of Computer Science : Richard Stallman : Linus Torvalds  : Larry Wall  : John K. Ousterhout : CTSS : Multix OS Unix History : Unix shell history : VI editor : History of pipes concept : Solaris : MS DOSProgramming Languages History : PL/1 : Simula 67 : C : History of GCC developmentScripting Languages : Perl history   : OS History : Mail : DNS : SSH : CPU Instruction Sets : SPARC systems 1987-2006 : Norton Commander : Norton Utilities : Norton Ghost : Frontpage history : Malware Defense History : GNU Screen : OSS early history

Classic books:

The Peter Principle : Parkinson Law : 1984 : The Mythical Man-MonthHow to Solve It by George Polya : The Art of Computer Programming : The Elements of Programming Style : The Unix Hater’s Handbook : The Jargon file : The True Believer : Programming Pearls : The Good Soldier Svejk : The Power Elite

Most popular humor pages:

Manifest of the Softpanorama IT Slacker Society : Ten Commandments of the IT Slackers Society : Computer Humor Collection : BSD Logo Story : The Cuckoo's Egg : IT Slang : C++ Humor : ARE YOU A BBS ADDICT? : The Perl Purity Test : Object oriented programmers of all nations : Financial Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2008 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2010 : The Most Comprehensive Collection of Editor-related Humor : Programming Language Humor : Goldman Sachs related humor : Greenspan humor : C Humor : Scripting Humor : Real Programmers Humor : Web Humor : GPL-related Humor : OFM Humor : Politically Incorrect Humor : IDS Humor : "Linux Sucks" Humor : Russian Musical Humor : Best Russian Programmer Humor : Microsoft plans to buy Catholic Church : Richard Stallman Related Humor : Admin Humor : Perl-related Humor : Linus Torvalds Related humor : PseudoScience Related Humor : Networking Humor : Shell Humor : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2011 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2012 : Financial Humor Bulletin, 2013 : Java Humor : Software Engineering Humor : Sun Solaris Related Humor : Education Humor : IBM Humor : Assembler-related Humor : VIM Humor : Computer Viruses Humor : Bright tomorrow is rescheduled to a day after tomorrow : Classic Computer Humor

The Last but not Least


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FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to advance understanding of computer science, IT technology, economic, scientific, and social issues. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided by section 107 of the US Copyright Law according to which such material can be distributed without profit exclusively for research and educational purposes.

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Last modified: October, 16, 2017