Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Newspeak and the Fall of Language

I have just read an article in the Independent where the UN admits that Haitian civilians were murdered by UN 'peacekeepers' in a gunfight gone wrong last July. Only they don't admit to murder, they admit to 'collateral victims'. This kind of Newspeak is particularly prevalent in the military where it seems the idea is to dehumanise war and make it sound ok. These are the people who brought us 'Ethnic Cleansing' a particularly sickening phrase, as well as 'friendly fire' and 'collateral damage'. This kind of reinvention of English would be laughable had not the media picked it up and now we can see this everywhere. It seeps into our language like some kind of toxic waste. Well I say, no more! Since when do we let a sector of our society, which I am sorry to say is generally not the smartest bunch, dictate how we should speak, think or feel? Let's say what it really is. Murder of civilians, genocide, killing your own soldiers... this is what is really going on.

San Nakji for President!

9 comments:

Tim Rice said...

As long as there is politics, there will be "newspeak." And it doesn't matter who or what wing holds the power.

San Nakji said...

You are right there!

The Archivist said...

I think 'friendly fire' is used because it is getting shot by your own side accidentally, not deliberately.

San Nakji said...

it's hardly friendly though...

Friar Tuck said...

I think war is always about dehumanizing victims.

That is the only way we can really kill someone and wake up in the morning.

And it is part of the reason I am a pacifist.

San Nakji said...

Good on you Friar! Pacifism is the way of the future!

Oricon Ailin said...

I agree with Tim. But, I will defend our military. There are many good and brave men and women who serve. They are very smart and very talented. It's the leaders of them the cause the harm. Most troops just follow orders that are handed down to them. It's their jobs. We should be blaming the higher ups that order people to do such heinous things.

San Nakji said...

Except that you don't have to be a soldier....

SeoulBrother said...

newspeak sucks, true, but it IS politically correct for me to do some ethnic cleansing vs. commit genocide.

Oricon, I agree, we should blame the higher ups, Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Big Oil and Big Religeon for ordering those fine young men and women to do those heinous things.

I hear you get doubleplusgood sleep at night if you do all that nasty stuff in the name of just about any god's name and/or blessing.

Nice 1984 reference there San Nakji.