Monday, February 12, 2007

AJC: Political language can be meaningless

POLITICAL LANGUAGE: Dump 'Free World' in sea of dated words | - Walter Minot op-ed: "Along with our great literary writers, journalists should be the guardians of our language, especially our political language. But are journalists really performing their duty when they either refer to President Bush as 'the leader of the Free World' or allow White House representatives to do so with impunity?

In examining and criticizing political language, journalists would do well to read George Orwell's analytical essay, 'Politics and the English Language,' in which Orwell defines and illustrates a number of abuses of political language. Imagine what Orwell would say about George Bush's phrase 'the axis of evil.' The phrase doesn't really make sense in describing the relationship existing among Iraq, Iran and North Korea. If we use a definition from 'The American Heritage Dictionary,' those countries do not fit the metaphorical political definition of an 'axis,' that is 'an alliance of powers . . . to promote mutual interests and policies.' Iraq and Iran were, not so long ago, enemies in a protracted war, and North Korea has remained politically isolated, without a strong alliance with any other nation."


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