Shifty language for a shifty politician? Today we have this-
“David Axelrod, Obama’s chief political adviser, along with campaign media adviser Jim Margolis, are encouraging lawmakers to use the word “recovery” instead of recession, and “investment” instead of “infrastructure.” Those recommendations came from focus-group research indicating that such framing would make the package more appealing to voters.“
George Ure at Urbansurvival has noticed a change in the use of the term bailout since it first appeared in October. The term ‘rescue’ popped up almost immediately and by now, has overtaken it, according to Google search cache. He writes:
“When the word ‘rescue’ started (absurdly) appearing around the word ‘bailout’, you might remember that in a www.news.google.com search, ‘rescue’ was being used only 18% of the time.
“Since we haven’t update this metric for a while, the current Google cache is 135,041 returns for bailout while rescue pops in with 164,129. Which is to say ‘rescue’ is now being used 54.86% of the time – a HUGE increase from first use tracking…”
Of course, I am not the first to note the purposeful change in speech for persuasive, suppressive, or propaganda purposes. George Orwell wrote a whole book about it, “1984” and called this tendency “newspeak.” From the book’s appendix
“Newspeak was the official language of Oceania, and had been devised to meet the ideological needs of Ingsoc, or English Socialism. In the year 1984 there was not as yet anyone who used Newspeak as his sole means of communication, either in speech or writing. The leading articles of the Times were written in it, but this was a tour de force which could only be carried out by a specialist, It was expected that Newspeak would have finally superseded Oldspeak (or standard English, as we should call it) by about the year 2050. Meanwhile, it gained ground steadily, all party members tending to use Newspeak words and grammatical constructions more and more in their everyday speech.
“To give a single example – The word free still existed in Newspeak, but could only be used in such statements as “The dog is free from lice” or “This field is free from weeds.” It could not be used in its old sense of “politically free” or “intellectually free,” since political and intellectual freedom no longer existed even as concepts, and were therefore of necessity nameless. Quite apart from the suppression of definitely heretical words, reduction of vocabulary was regarded as an end in itself”
crimethink – To even consider any thought not in line with the principles of Ingsoc. Doubting any of the principles of Ingsoc. All crimes begin with a thought. So, if you control thought, you can control crime….”
Before you pooh-pooh the idea that thoughcrime could ever come to the fore…and that 1984 is just a fiction book, consider this news item from a few months ago in the US:
“Last year, NewScientist revealed that the US Department of Homeland Security is developing a system designed to detect “hostile thoughts” in people walking through border posts, airports and public places. The DHS says recent tests prove it works.”
It’s a bailout, not a rescue. It’s a handout, not a stimulus package.
“By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.” Amen, George Carlin.