A.J. DiCintio
Car bombs and the English language
By A.J. DiCintio
May 8, 2010

Although I'm among the many people who have previously applied George Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" (1946) to contemporary culture, I'm at it again because given human nature, the job never ends.

Yes, despite the tirades of leftists who detest Orwell because he detested power loving politicians, someone will be reminding anyones-who-will-listen about his essay for a very long time, even, possibly, until the moment our sun — unable to endure one more piece of pride arrogantly slung at the cosmos by merely-human beings who behave as if they banged Creation into being — swallows earth into its plasmatic iron belly.

Now on to some observations regarding corrupt language and the recent attempted terrorist bombing in New York City.

First, however, these quotes from Orwell:

. . . the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes. . .

But an effect can become a cause. . . [just as] a man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks.

It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts.

With those ideas stated, this commentary begins with language spoken by a key figure of the Obama administration, whose first duty, of course, is to speak in harmony with the president's beliefs and policies.

In this case, there is no official more key than Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, whose initial reaction to an act of terror aimed at the city that has been the prime U.S. target of radical Islamist terrorists since the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 was to diminish its significance with perfectly stupid talk about an "amateurish type of bomb."

That typically soft, insulting response to an intended act of mass murder certainly hit the right nerve of Left-of-Center America as liberal politicians, pundits, and bloggers either joked about the bomber's ineptitude or sought to make political hay out of his vile mission.

Revealing the shameless heights of perversity to which politicians can rise as fast as a rat slinks to the top of a garbage pile after a piece of rotten cheese, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg managed to do both in a few seconds as he mimicked Napolitano by pronouncing the bomb "amateurish" and then speculated that the motive of the bomber might have been "anything," though the only thing that flowed from his politically putrid stream of consciousness was "somebody with a political agenda who doesn't like the health care bill."

So this is what liberalism has come to:

When the vigilance of an ordinary citizen and the professional behavior of the police may have averted horrible bloodshed caused by an act of terror, the first reaction of the liberal mind is to dismiss the hellish bomb built by the terrorist as amateurish and to hope like hell he may be a member of the Tea Party.

Yes, that's change in American tradition, all right — but change you can believe in only if you are an arrogant, power-mad ideologue who makes a religion of politics and gods of politicians.

However, if there is one thing to be said about Barack Obama — in addition to the fact that his devotion to every dogma of liberalism is unwavering — it is that he is a summa cum laude graduate of the Chicago Political Machine.

Therefore, while his own language provides guidance to the likes of Napolitano and Bloomberg, such as when he used the ugly, slovenly slur "teabaggers" to slime both ordinary folks who oppose his policies and the Republican Party, he also understands that at certain times expediency must prevail.

And prevail it did as, in a super-fast 180, Secretary Napolitano warned against drawing "premature" conclusions while Robert Gibbs scurried to his podium to announce that the act "was intended to terrorize" and therefore its perpetrator "would be categorized as a terrorist."

Now, the need to "correct" language regarding an issue as important as terrorism should have caused a national uproar — even though it wasn't the main reason for the president's expediency.

That reason, which ought to create a firestorm across the nation, is this:

As another story about terrorism on American soil grips the nation, Obama desperately needs to get the topic of language out of the news so that people don't get to thinking about other instances in which his policies toward terrorism and his language converge, especially these:

. . . Just one month after he took office, Janet Napolitano, with his full approval, threw "terror" and "terrorist attack" into the garbage can in favor of "man-caused disaster."

. . . A month later, the Pentagon, according to the Washington Post, issued the following directive, which had to come directly from the Oval Office:

"[The Obama] administration prefers to avoid using . . . 'Global War on Terror' . . . Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.'"

Yes, the president is correct. If the public does get to thinking carefully about terrorism and the language he uses and promotes, it will, for example, begin to ask sarcastic questions about why, with respect to the near instance of mass murder in Times Square, neither he nor a single member of his administration spoke of a "man-caused disaster" or the possible need for an "overseas contingency operation."

But that doesn't represent Obama's biggest problem, which is this:

The American people will also come to understand that the perversity of his language is an "effect" of radical liberal ideology and then conclude that the effect is highly likely to become a "cause" that will impel him and his administration to "fail all the more completely" in their duty to keep the nation safe.

Keeping the people safe from threats at home and abroad is government's first and most important function.

That's why, the more I think about it the more I believe it is crucially important that a great majority of us demonstrate that we understand (to borrow from Christopher Hitchens) Why Orwell Matters, for today and every last tomorrow.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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