Ep. 20 – My Week in Press (5)


Sharing with you this weekly round up of press, has inspired me to read more regularly, and to read a wider variety of articles. Here are some that I’ve enjoyed this week, that I wanted to share with you! Hope you enjoy, have a lovely week!




This is the second article I’ve read on this particular topic: politics and the english language. How politicians give certain names to make events and facts more workable and less, shall I say, alarming than they really are sometimes.

George Orwell wrote a piece called ‘Politics and the English Language’, which was published in 1946. Orwell explains how certain writers tend to write in a way that removes objective meaning from their statements, instead of conveying pure facts in Modern English. He cites dying metaphors, operators or verbal false limbs, which, quote:

 “save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry”.

Pretentious diction, “used to dress up a simple statement and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgements”. Meaningless words, “long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning”. He particularly cites words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality”, used in art criticism, as being:

“strictly meaningless, in the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever expected to do so by the reader”.

Orwell warns us how stale writing leads to sloppy thinking. He warns us that the ready made sentences which many politicians, or economists, or any other type of writer, use, often do nothing to convey meaning, do nothing to convey true, objective fact, and leaves a lot of room for personal interpretation, which does nothing to help create a commonly shared reality.

When I read this, like Kuttner, I find myself thinking about the way Trump communicates. Indeed, it seems that “Ignorance is Strength”, for the case of the Trump administration. And this is what happens: we invent phrases to dim the gravity of the real facts. Not just in Russia 70 years ago, but today in supposably the land of the free and the brave.

Kuttner puts forth that Trump’s “strategy”, is “flood the zone” (with lies, primarily). This seems incredibly accurate, considering the daily dose of scandals he delivers on a news platter every single day. He proliferates so many lies, that by the time one lie is rebutted, he has put out many more. What’s seems even sadder, is he seems to believe even the lies that contradict previous lies.

This leads to extreme confusion among citizens of the United States, but also, worldwide confusion, as everyone in the world is touched by the actions of the United States (think NATO, Paris agreement, Middle East deals, to start with). “Trump has embellished this technique by lying, then accusing his critics of lying, until the debate is hopelessly scrambled. Trump manufactures phony stories, then accuses the media of “fake news.””

“Adolf Hitler was the first to describe the technique of repeating a lie so often that people would come to believe it. He called it the “Big Lie.””

Trump denies the denial. He lies, gets caught for lying, and then denies that he lied, and then when that lie is exposed, he denies that he said the lie in the first place.

“Trump may wish he were a total dictator, but this is still a democracy. Lies can work during campaigns but at some point, when you try to govern, reality has a way of intruding. Eventually, the truth does get its boots on.”









Image via Man Repeller