Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Waterboarding Language

Caring about language is not an egghead sport. Nothing exists outside of its reach. Like the corruption of the environment, the corruption of language can go unnoticed or suffer the plague of apathy until essentially it’s almost “too late.” Language is the first front in the pursuit of manipulating the public mind. Apparently, the struggle for the meaning of words (especially common words) seems to precede the struggle for control, be it political, social, or even religious. I know that I’ve quoted from this book before, but Death Sentences by Don Watson is an important book, though foreign to any seller list. I like it for its content, but also because it is the kind of work that helps us decipher meaning from background noise.
"All totalitarian regimes, regardless of their ideological origin, pervert language to delude, intimidate, and mystify their subjects. They also take the humor out of it, even when the circumstances are laughable. Stalin sent his erstwhile comrades to their deaths confessing ludicrously concocted crimes, and countless intelligent people were persuaded to believe them. What is it that torture and brainwashing try to extract? Words. They need the word as the corpse. If words define reality, you cannot control the one without controlling the other."



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Still true today in every Dictatorship, or ask any Republican operative.

Ya Haqq!

12/19/2007 8:58 PM  

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