Jun. 11th, 2006

chickenfeet: (history)
"Newspeak" is surely Orwell's most chilling creation. The idea that the rulers could so distort language that words come to mean essentially the opposite of themselves is appalling and he was right in predicting that it would become a mainstay of governments and other authorities throughout the world. The fact that ostensibly democratic governments use Newspeak quite as much as authoritarian ones probably wouldn't have overly surprised GO. I think he would have been more surprised by the kind of Neospeak that pervades business, and latterly government, circles and serves either as a substitute for thought and analysis or, closely related, to enable managers to toe the party line without even admitting to themselves that it is complete twaddle.

Central though to Orwell's concept is the idea that use of Newspeak is a conscious decision to obfuscate. I think he would have been genuinely surprised, and appalled, at how the debasement of language seems to be facilitating an inability to function as a decent, morally capable human being. In evidence I present a quote from Rear Admiral Harry Harris, USN, the commandant of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp referring to the suicide of three inmates. "I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.". I wish I believe that he was deliberately manipulating words to mislead us but I fear that that sentence is actually indicative of the moral universe that this benighted individual inhabits.
chickenfeet: (widmerpool)
From today's Globe and Mail report on the Haditha incident:

The lawyer told the paper Capt. McConnell told him that he had reported the high number of civilian deaths to his superiors that afternoon and that within a few days the battalion's intelligence chief gave a PowerPoint presentation to higher-up Marine commanders.


The US Armed Forces seem hell bent on replicating all the worst aspects of US corporate culture.
chickenfeet: (rugby)
I'm going to try out the Buggered Up Shoulder this afternoon in the XLs v. Markham game. This puts me in something of a quandary. I've been playing for the XLs fairly regularly for several years but the way the fixtures have worked this year I've also been playing for Markham, who have made it clear that I'm very welcome at any of their games.. Indeed I was playing for Markham when I got injured. So who to play for today? This could be amusing.
chickenfeet: (toe)
he had a chip on each shoulder.

a propos of which is that the left shoulder of doom of doom behaved impeccably today. that's the good news. the lerss good nmews is that i separated my right shoulder and tore a ligament. currently right arm is in a s;ling hence the crappy left hansed one fingered typing

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