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1/27/10

Speak and Doublespeak



  • We had to destroy the village in order to save it. US Army press release during Vietnam.
  • An act of asymmetrical warfare.
  • Rear Adm. Harry Harris in describing 3 prisoners who hanged themselves at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba
  • WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. From George Orwell's 1984

    "Where is the indignation, the outrage, at the lies in which we are immersed?" Clearly, the answer lies deeper than the machinations of one or another faction of the power elite. It lies deeper than the subversion and control of the media. Part of our society's apathy arises from a subtle and profound disempowerment: the de-potentiation of language itself, along with all other forms of symbolic culture. Words are losing their power to create and to transform. The result is a tyranny that can never be overthrown, but will only proceed toward totality until it collapses under the weight of the multiple crises it inevitably generates.

    As we acclimate ourselves to a ubiquitous matrix of lies, words mean less and less to us, and we don't believe anything any more." Found here

    In his 1946 "Politics and The English Language," George Orwell had this to say:

    "Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language -- so the argument runs -- must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes." More
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