Saturday, November 13, 2004

A Rant about Double-speak

I understand the need for people who scheme to take over the world in order to couch their policies and claims in Orwellian Doublespeak. Claiming the impossible in order to propose the improbable in order to dupe the credulous is a time-tested tradition of bad guys. However there are some depths of linguistic depravity that have just gone too far.

What I'm ratning about is the use of the term "pockets". It began with the War on Iraq, with any sort of areas resisting Ameribrit domination described as "pockets". That was an acceptable use of the world, because really not that many areas were in open revolt. Then however the cancer of the insurgency began spreading all over Iraq, and you couldn't walk down the street without being kidnapped and having your pleading face shoved into a camara for a humiliating display on Al Jazeera. It was still called "pockets" which was ridiculous but then again Five Oclock follies always are.

However now the term "pockets" has spread to British social services and it's just gone too far!

The Independent (UK) reports that 2/3rds of whites surveyed admitted that they were racist.

Two-thirds of whites say they are biased against minorities
By Sophie Goodchild, Home Affairs Correspondent
14 November 2004

Two-thirds of white people in Britain admit they are prejudiced against at least one minority group, with Gypsies and asylum-seekers the main targets, according to an authoritative study published this week.

The damning report identifies five types of bigotry displayed by whites, ranging from outright aggression to more subtle forms of prejudice that undermine attempts to make Britain an inclusive society.

The findings will be presented to ministers and MPs on Tuesday and will show that prejudice is still widespread, with asylum-seekers, Asians and travellers all regarded as cultural threats to traditional English values. The study, commissioned by Stonewall, the gay rights lobby group, also shows prejudice against gays, lesbians and the disabled.

According to Stonewall, the report revealed "significant pockets of unpleasant prejudice against minorities". [emphasis added]

The real news isn't that 2/3rds of white brits might admit they were racist, though that is interesting, it's that a British official called 2/3rds of the population "pockets".

Now as far as I'm concerned that is just going too damned far. Using pockets as a term is of course meant to minimize the scale of a described phenomena. However 2/3rds of a population is decidely not qualified for proper usage of pockets! Furthermore I don't even object to the use of Orwellian Doublespeak, it's the pointless and mindlessly idiotic usage that I object to. Does the person in question really think that he can minimize the impact of the finding by describing it using the word "pockets"?

If the continued use of the word "pockets" by American and British authorities and media continues, the Oxford English Dictionary may have to revise the definition of the word "pockets" to mean the supremajority of any described group. Our grandkids may be telling each other "Oh yes, they invaded and took over pockets of the entire country subjugating it!".

When two thirds of Iraq is in open revolt against us, will it still be described as "pockets of resistance" because the Kurdish area is not particularly violent yet?

Such is the mendacity of trickle-down government mendacity.

Look if people are evil and want to take over the world, I can deal with that. I'll try to fight it, but hey whatcha gonna do right? People will be people, which means on the whole nasty and pathetically brutish when they're not whining. But spare me the mendacity of fawning and mindless imitation of badly applied linguistic perversions. That is what makes me want to give up on the human race, not that they might lie but when they get so tangled up they can't tell the difference between their lies or what's real.

Okay that was my rant. I feel better now.

9 Comments:

At November 13, 2004 at 10:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well its part of what I call the euphemism movement, by using anodyne words/phrases gov't functionaries are trying to do is the linguistic equivalent of dressing up a pig and presenting it as the prom queen.

And you've just pointed out its still a pig.

But gov't do that, they can't help themselves, its like a addiction.

Because nobody wants to be the bearer of bad news to the boss or public. Bad things happen to the messenger you know. So the minor functionaries dress up disasters to present to their boss and viola! the boss doesn't fly into a rage and sack the drone who submitted it.

And the higher up you go the more bad news is padded. Remember Al Haig and his "haigisms"? Where he could spout coherent nonsense and make it sound reasonable to the unwary.

Another element is that its not politically correct to be direct about anything. Directness offends and upsets people.

You can't call a someone a half-witb but you can say they have a genetic tendency towards sub-optimal performance.

Rodger

 
At November 14, 2004 at 3:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

[cm]

I think this is not restricted to govt. It strikes me as a general tendency in Western (?) society to diminish the concept of responsibility & accountability, and detach oneself from the social process. There are two sides to it -- don't judge, and don't be judged. If you have to make a statement, pay lip service. How much more convenient than to verbally take sides is it to assume the role of "factual" observer, and comment nicely on the status quo. PC, inventing euphemisms, and speaking in passive voice are just the linguistic symptoms of this.

Not on the topic of the article, how often have we heard an official say that they take full responsibility for some screw-up? 10, certainly 20 years ago that would have meant stepping down. Today you utter the phrase, make a serious face, and move on. Tell me about moral values.

What do you think? And please expand.

 
At November 14, 2004 at 12:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Oldman1787,


Please start using spell check. Thanks!

 
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imgt

 
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