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SA Democracy down the tubes

Posted by: Jawellnofine

Tagged in: Words , vocabulary , spin-doctor , sentences , Rhetoric , Politicians , opinion , media , grammar , euphamisms


In my world, words have meaning, weight and emotional clout. Words also have depth, width and the ability to hurt and strike fear.

Words are a wonderful human construct for without them, we would be reduced to the realm of the animals; even the most intelligent of them only grunt, squeak, meow, neigh and bark their way around life.

The evolution of words and their construct i.e. grammar, vocabulary, etc, is an interesting subject but the abuse and spin-doctoring of words even more so. It is the latter that fascinates me.

In our modern world of political correctness, well constructed words have lost their meaning to a plethora of ‘soft’ sentences devised not to insult or to annoy our sense of modesty.

Take these for example: Blind is visually impaired; partly cloudy is partially sunny; a problem is a challenge; a handicap is a handi-capable; constipation is occasional irregularity; dying is passing away and vomit is involuntary personal protein spill.

Personally I prefer the passing-away conclusion for it infers that I will not die.

Add euphemisms to the maelstrom of soft words or sentences, and political correctness is born i.e. whenever a politician or whom ever requires public support or backing, sentences such as ‘your hard-fought freedom’ and ‘your human rights are being impinged upon’ or even ‘a return to apartheid’ makes their presence felt.

How many times have we not heard words like cautiously optimistic, in the public interest, neutralisation of hostilities, the curtailing of therapeutic malpractices, the truth, etc, from politicians or media alike? ‘We have the support of the people’ is another example of justification by inference.

But one cannot blame them for the manipulation of words. We the public will roast them alive if we do not hear what we want to hear. And we do want to hear that all is well and things (fill in your own requirement) are looking up: a Bank will not dare state that it is facing financial problems, for the risk of a public charge on the Bank is a very real one. Unfortunately, the practice of positive spin-doctoring has become common place in our modern society much to our disdain and anger; but we have only ourselves to blame.

But have we not been indoctrinated by the constant badgering and in-your-face marketing campaigns by all who need out support and backing? Take the art of lobbying. Here is an art that is laden with communications and ‘people’ experts. Experts, whose sole job is to manipulate opinion, create perceptions and manoeuvre public judgments into areas where character assassination can be controlled and managed.

To my mind, the way to fight the scourge of medial wordiness and political spin-doctoring and corporate posturing is to question all statements and inferences for emotional content, rational deduction and if-therefore statements. Removing the absolutes from sentences or verbal tirades will also provide an insight to what is actually being said.

But I do think that I am being minimally exceptional in my expectations of what is. In a righteous world, alleged would not be used as a news item, civil society would not mean all persons, innocent until proven guilty would not be subject to damning media speculation, positive rhetoric would be just that, the universe would be a place where stones and dark matter reside, women would not be unwilling sperm recipients and I would not be experiencing a negative cash flow position after being curtailed due to redundancies in the human resources department.

And that in its ambiguous totality is the truth of it!?

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