Monday, January 09, 2006

'Extraordinary Rendtions' - aka Kidnap & Torture

Salman Rushdie opines today in The Age about the abuse of language that evil deeds generate as part of the de-rigeur spin cycle of the modern era. I agree fully. George Orwell's essay on politics and the English language is sadly as relevant today (if not moreso) as it was when he wrote it in 1946.
To quote SR:

Language, too, has laws, and those laws tell us that this new American usage is improper — a crime against the word. Every so often the habitual Newspeak of politics throws up a term whose calculated blandness makes us shiver with fear — yes, and loathing.

"Clean words can mask dirty deeds," New York Times columnist William Safire wrote in 1993, in response to the arrival of another such phrase, "ethnic cleansing". "Final solution" is a further, even more horrible locution of this Orwellian, double-plus-ungood type. "Mortality response", a euphemism for death by killing that I first heard during the Vietnam War, is another. This is not a pedigree of which any newborn usage should be proud.

and to this dare we add 'The Pacific Solution'? Discussed on various webforums such as Amnesty International and Oxfam. The obligatory Wiki here.

Ahh, evil acts with such banal descriptions, they cheapen the dignity of all of us and are perpetuated with our electoral mandate.

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