Starring our New Feature -- "The Orwell Awards" for
cutting edge advances in the mangling of meaning by members of the Empire.
The Orwell Awards
The "pre-emptive strikes" on logic and the English language by politicians, CEOs and the media has turned into one of our Empire's major industries. In recognition of the cutting edge advances being made today in American Newspeak, we are offering these awards to deserving individuals. Entries were judged by an exacting standard -- how many times their utterances would make George Orwell roll over in his grave. Here are this year's winners so far from various categories
Father Knows Best Dept.
The U.S. Justice Department broke new ground with its crafting of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003. Among it's finer encroachments on civil liberties, revealed by the Center for Public Integrity, is Section 501. It would allow the government to strip U.S. citizenship away from anyone giving "material support" to any group designated as terrorists. Some of you may recall the U.S. Constitution forbids depriving Americans of their citizenship. A minor point. Justice Department lawyers adroitly found a loophole -- the Constitution allows to voluntarily give up their rights. The bill's authors then reasoned that, "an intent to relinquish nationality need not be manifested in words, but can be inferred from conduct." Thank god, we have enlightened people making those inferences.
Getting the Visuals Right
When Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the UN, his background "visuals" consisted of blue draperies neatly trimmed by a row of flags. Few knew the draperies had to be installed that morning to cover over a work of art that normally stands there -- a massive tapestry reproduction of Picasso's famous anti-war painting "Guernica." Speaking in defense of the cover-up of Picasso's images of dying women, children and animals was UN spokesperson Stephane Dujaric, who stated, "We needed the right background that would work on television." (If only Picasso had painted happy faces.) Unbeknownst to himself, Powell was presenting the world with a perfect metaphor of how our policies and language of "collateral damage" cover over the realities of human suffering.
Term Paper Enhancements
The British government was forced to admit that large sections of their "up-to-date" report on IraqÕs deception had been lifted word for word from an article by a postgraduate student in California named Ibrahim al Mirashi. The plagiarism was so blatant that even spelling and punctuation errors from the original articles had been repeated. However, our English colony deserves praise for a number of key improvements upon Mr. MarashiÕs prose. Where the student described the Iraqi intelligence agency as "monitoring foreign embassies in Iraq," the British upgraded that to "spying on foreign embassies in Iraq." Much better. And where Marashi referred to Iraq "aiding opposition groups in hostile regimes," British Intelligence improved this to "supporting terrorist organizations in hostile regimes." Same evidence, just more "up-to-date" conclusions, which is undoubtedly why Colin Powell relied on it in his U.N. speech.
Terrorists under the Bed Dept.
Denver's police force has taken the lead in local efforts to fight terrorism. The American Civil Liberties Union disclosed that Denver's intrepid crime fighters had surveillance files on 3,200 people and 208 organizations who could pose security risks. The diligence of the police was paid off with the discovery of what they described as a "criminal extremist" organization -- the American Friends Service Committee. The detective work that finally "exposed" these Quaker pacifists and their subversive prayer and potluck meetings deserves recognition. However, it should be pointed out, the Denver police missed the League of Women voters. An inexplicable oversight.
Benefits from Big Brother
The state of Florida found yet another creative use for our surveillance satellites. Under pressure from Florida orange growers, they have plans to aim their lenses at BrazilÕs orange groves to count how many trees they have producing oranges. Florida orange growers have complained that BrazilÕs crop forecasts are too inaccurate and drive down prices for Florida oranges. Top honors go to Bob Crawford, director of FloridaÕs Dept of Citrus, for this insight in defense of the surveillance proposal. "ItÕs creating a database," he said. "I think it will bring us closer together." Don't we all feel "closer" when we see cameras focused on us?
Divine Inspiration Dept.
A minor miracle occurred when over 70 newspapers printed exactly the same letter to the editor, but all written by different people who had all found exactly the same words to praise President BushÕs tax cut. The letters all begin with the sentences: "When it comes to the economy, President Bush is demonstrating genuine leadership. The economic growth package he recently proposed takes us in the right direction by accelerating the successful tax cuts of 2001..." Opponents of the miracle thesis point to the growing practice of Astroturf organizing by PR fronts and to a Republican Website called "gopteamleader.com" which also contains a copy of the exact same letter with easy e-mail links to newspapers. And prizes for letter "writers."
President Bush announcement of a tax cut for Wall Street investors was the occasion for one of the finer understatements of the past decade. The statement was made by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who announced, "The president does not believe in punishing people because they are successful." Indeed. According to the Brookings Institute, a typical teacher, police officer or fire person could expect a return of $350 to $500 under BushÕs plan, while the typical multi-millionaire could expect about $88,000.
The University of California at Berkeley re-entered the censorship business with a resounding belly flop when officials decided to censor a fundraising letter for the Emma Goldman Papers Project. One sentence, in particular, by the noted anarchist was found to be too offensive to today's more patriotic sensibilities. Listen and see if you donÕt agree. In 1915, before we had entered World War I Emma is quoted exhorting people ''not yet overcome by war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated on them." Obviously a tad inappropriate. Regardless, the University was forced to back down from their stand after the case received too much attention in the press.
Let us end these award presentations with a random thought from Dr. Sigmund Freud which I'm told is very significant for the Bush era. "By accepting the universal neurosis," he wrote, "the individual is spared the task of forming a personal neurosis." Amen.
Continue on and Read
and the Boys Who Cried "Wolf"
The lowly satirical e-zine celebrating cutting edge advances in Orwellian Doublespeak has become a book.
"Wayne Grytting is one of the funniest
and most perceptive political observers of our times.
-- Robert W. McChesney, author of
is just what we need in these mad days: a funny guide to the serious assaults
on our language, our culture, our minds.
-- Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States
This is George Orwell meets Alice in Wonderland. What a bizarre world of words Grytting has compiled for us here, showing once again that, in America, satire is no match for reality.
-- Jim Hightower, author of If the Gods HadMeant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates
Wayne Grytting wields a very sharp pin, and hundreds of everyday hot-air balloons go off loudly in this rapid-fire book. Grytting is both funny and humanistic as he explores the knotty tangles of American Newspeak and suggests how we might extricate ourselves.
-- Norman Solomon, author of TheHabits of
Highly Deceptive Media
American Newspeak slices and dices the lies of our culture. It's the funniest book I've read since The Enron Code of Ethics.
-- Paul Loeb, author of Soul of a Citizen
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