Those who prattle on about Orwellian Newspeak fail to understand its sophistication. Its overriding purpose is to simplify our vocabulary until it is reduced to a handful of buzz words.
It does this by eliminating antonyms from the language. Antonyms are dangerous because they encourage contrast, and contrast too often leads to social destabilizers like thought, discussion and debate. By incorporating a word’s antonym into its meaning, contrast is neutralized and social stability reigns.
Here’s how it works. A word grows and expands, like the Blob in the 1950 movie classic of the same name, until it absorbs its antonym, which becomes it synonym though it is still its antonym even though it now acts like its synonym.
In order for Newspeak to maximize its effectiveness, a semi-literate population is necessary. Understand that semi-literate has nothing to do with reading skills. Rather, it describes a population that is too lazy to read and prefers to be fed images on a screen. Our 24/7 cable news channels have worked wonders in promoting this semi-literacy. This could explain why newspapers across the country are folding. Why waste time reading when the tube explains it all.
Sometimes, rather than shrinking vocabulary, Newspeak effects a semantic reversal. We are all acquainted with the couplet, “Socialism is slavery; capitalism is freedom.” Here, both words remain in the vocabulary, yet each has absorbed its antonym so that Socialism’s slavery is freedom and capitalism’s freedom is slavery. Since nobody wants to be a slave, they abjure socialism’s freedom and embrace capitalism’s slavery.
Shrub made a major contribution to Newspeak when he was in office by expanding the meaning of normal to include sociopathic behavior. He did the same for patriotism and God.
Thanks to Tim Geithner, the phrase “private money” has expanded to incorporate its antonym, “public money”, thus rendering the phrase “public money” redundant.
The same is true of “bureaucrat”. The word use to refer only to a government employee. Thanks to the revolving door that exists between government and industry, the meaning of bureaucrat has grown until is includes corporate bureaucrats as well.
Life is sweet when Newspeak thrives. It is a healing balm that allows the mind to mellow out without being disturbed by doubt and skepticism. With remote in hand, John Q. Public drifts along in a trance, soothed by words that cause nary a ripple in his soul.
Friday, March 27, 2009
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