Friday, September 12, 2014

Politics and the English Language

Periods 5 and 6 read George Orwell's Politics and the English Language this week.  The essay is an appropriate starting point for our study of government and politics because it focuses on language and writing, specifically how the modern decadence of our language is both a cause and effect of our corrupted thoughts.    Political language is especially important because, as Orwell, argues,  "(i)n our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics’. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer."

And when language suffers, so does thought.

Orwell tells us that fight against bad English is a noble one and a starting point to some improvement "to our present political chaos."    In the pursuit of that cause, students brought to class today examples of slovenliness of language that may be a result of our foolish thoughts and a source of them.  We discussed each.  Take a look.

Euphemisms; "words and meaning part(ing) company," "defense of the indefensible"

"Necessary Show of Force"
                (Reference to Israel's bombing of Gaza and killing of civilians, including children, made by former Israeli defense official, Michael  Herzog, in the Guardian in July 2014.)
                                                                                               ~ Syeda H.

"Enhanced interrogation techniques"
                  (term first emerged during George W. Bush Admin: treatment of prisoners...torture)
                                                                                               ~ Simon M-P.

"Already allies are flying planes with us over Iraq."
                   (President Obama avoiding phrases that sound like war in speech on ISIL 9/10/14)
                                                                                              ~ Ethan A.

Obama Administration not using term ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) but ISIL (Islamic State in the Levant)
                                                                                             ~ Mercedes P-E and Heidi A.

                  (Mitt Romney Republican debate regarding undocumented  immigrants, 2012)
                                                                                             ~ LJ

 "If you threaten America, you will not find a safe haven."
                  (Obama, ISIL Speech 9/10/14)
                                                                                             ~  Sandy V. and Julie X.

"Operation Rolling Thunder"
                  (Vietnam War: three years of intense bombing of North Vietnam)

                                                                                             ~ Noah T.
"Ethnic Cleansing"
                                                                                            ~ Leo M.

"They have no vision, but to kill."
                   (President Obama's ISIL speech)
                                                                                           ~ Riley W.

"...America will lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat."
                  (President Obama's ISIL what countries are part of this coalition?)
                                                                                           ~ Jennai W. and Ryan T.
"Death with Dignity."
                                                                                          ~ Kariya L.

"Change we can believe in"
                                                                                           ~ Yami U.,  Tiera F.

"The U.S. has to stop this widespread threat like cancer."
                    (President Obama's ISIL speech)
                                                                                           ~ Chanel A.

 "Stale" metaphors, similes and idioms

"I want to spend some time, even as we're getting all our ducks in a row, for the executive action."
                   "  (President Obama on ISIL)
                                                                                             ~ Vereniki L.

 "fly in the face of danger..."
                   (President Obama ISIL speech 9/10/14)
                                                                                               ~ Gina L.

"boots on the ground"
                                                                                              ~ Mickenzie M.

"air campaign"
                                                                                              ~ Mickenzie M.

Student, Kali A. brought in a series of statements by Ferguson, MO Chief of Police Jackson foisting responsibility off on the media for his release of two store videos suggesting that Michael Brown may have been involved in a store robbery before being shot and killed by police.  Jackson later admitted that the circumstances on the tape, whatever they were, had no connection to the police shooting of Brown.

"(L)ack of precision...vagueness and sheer incompetence..," "hackneyed" phrases, "meaningless words," appeals to emotion

"Believe in America"
                  (name of presidential candidate Mitt Romney's economic growth/jobs plan)
                                                                                                 ~ Anna H.

"Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was likely struck by multiple high energy objects from outside the aircraft, causing it to break up over eastern Ukraine, a preliminary report into the deadly aviation disaster concluded Tuesday."
                   (Yahoo News July 2014)
                                                                                                 ~ Martin V.

"Here We Stay" "Here We Roar" "Here We Play"
               (public opinion campaign to keep the Kings pro-basketball team in Sac and with that fund a new arena ...always hinting that not true Sacramentan if you don't support the Kings)
                                                                                                ~ Alex P.

"I have made it clear that we will hunt down terrorists who threaten our country, wherever they are..."
                (President Obama's ISIL speech...from Nancy L.: "this will never end! How will you know when you've hunted down every terrorist? )
                                                                                               ~ Nancy L.

"...USA meeting them (ISIL) with strength and resolve."
                 (President Obama's ISIL speech)
                                                                                              ~   Alex S.

"This is American leadership at its best."
                  (President Obama's ISIL speech)
                                                                                              ~ Christopher I. 

"Substantial counterterrorism capabilities."
                    (President Obama's ISIL speech)
                                                                                               ~ Sue T.

"It is very difficult, practically impossible, to fight against the will of the people."
                    (Vladimir Putin)
                                                                                              ~  Aidan F.

"American power can make a decisive difference, but we cannot do for Iraqis what they must do for themselves, nor can we take the place of Arab partners in securing the region."
                                                                                               ~ Jessica P.


No comments:

Post a Comment