The Power of Words

August 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm (Uncategorized)

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean– neither more nor less.”

“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master-that’s all.”

                                                                                                                                                  — Through the Looking Glass

I’ve spent a fair bit of time studying syntax and semantics, so it’s fair to say that language is important to me. Still, when I see the narrative politicians in particular spin, when sacrifice is used to compare running a successful business to the loss of a child, and bigot to mean, well, I’ll admit I don’t quite know what Trump means. (and apparently neither did Anderson Cooper)

When apologies begin with “If I offended anyone…” (implying that if they didn’t offend anyone, no apology is necessary) , when every comment is supposedly “taken out of context”, when none of it makes sense.

Trump of course is the worst offender here, but then again, he does have “the best words.”

I refer readers to something I wrote in 2009 on Orwell and language, but reading Orwell’s essay Politics and the English Language is also essential.

Oh and this song by the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy is worth looking at too.


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