As the Police State tightens its grip, often literally, on powerless populations, one casualty has been language itself. The vocabulary of authoritarianism turns out to be pathetically small; from Jerusalem to Ferguson, the same words and phrases fall like rain, as though no one could be bothered to haul out a thesaurus once in a while to mix things up.
Instead, we are treated to kindergarten jingles designed for rote recitation, usually expressing the opposite of the truth. What does it mean when a heavily armed occupier “fears for his life” at the sight of a teenager, whether unarmed and fleeing, or at worst, wielding a rock or knife?
Or when Israel claims it has a “right to defend itself,” when it is the most militarized country on earth, who do they think they’re fooling? And how, with a straight face, can virtually all English-speaking politicians repeat such arrant nonsense? Carpet bombing is a lot of things, but it is certainly not defensive.
Killing in cold blood, of course, requires Herculean efforts at euphemism to seem respectable, but it’s increasingly clear that authoritarians everywhere have so cowed the media and brainwashed the public that nothing is too lame and infantile to utter in public. When sidewalk executions become “officer involved shootings,” and “failure to comply” becomes a Capital crime, we’ve arrived at our current Police State via Sesame Street.
It isn’t hard to conclude that insulting our intelligence is intentional; another reminder of the more general contempt for the broader public held by those in power. Deliberately infantilizing the public with fact-free baby talk is just another tool to obtain compliance, albeit more subtly than a tear gas canister, but crudely effective, nonetheless.
Still, the mind-numbing catchphrases of a dozen years ago were at least more cleverly crafted: They hate us for our freedom. We have to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here. We don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. I could go on, but the vintage BS sound almost Shakespearean compared to the garbage we’re hearing now. I think that’s pretty telling, and alarming.
(Hag will be attending a same sex wedding this evening and will thus be scarce in comments)