Thursday, August 31, 2006

Power is tearing human minds apart and putting them back together in new shapes of your own choosing.

Andrew Sullivan's correct; "Islamofascism" is a stupid neologism and a waste of energy to discuss. But...

The Right's obsession with changing the language by creating words as short-hand for ideas so simple they require no condensing to begin with continues apace. It's been part and parcel of Republican strategy since Gingrich distributed his famous memo on acceptable words for their candidates to use ten years ago.

They've been fairly successful at it as well. Words and phrases like "homicide bomber," "anti-life" and "death tax" have been crow-barred into regular political discussion. My personal bugaboo is the use of "Democrat" in any form other than a noun. "Can you believe the latest Democrat proposal?" It's framing to the nth degree and it's just stupid.

We've seen all this before. A man named Orwell wrote a book that talked about the use of Newspeak in this fashion:

By 2050—earlier, probably—all real knowledge of Oldspeak will have disappeared. The whole literature of the past will have been destroyed. Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton, Byron—they'll exist only in Newspeak versions, not merely changed into something different, but actually contradictory of what they used to be. Even the literature of the Party will change. Even the slogans will change. How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness. (via Wikipedia)

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