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Throw out the cliches
Aberdeen American News ^ | May 24, 2012 | Art Marmorstein

Posted on 05/24/2012 7:38:37 PM PDT by ancientart

Political writing tends to be bad writing, noted George Orwell in his 1946 essay “Politics and the English Language.” Too often it's a tool for deception and obfuscation rather than clear communication.

Orwell criticizes particularly those who rely on political catch phrases devised by others, throwing their minds open and “letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in.” It's an easy way of avoiding the hard work good writing demands, says Orwell. Catch phrases “will construct your sentences for you - even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent - and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself.”

It's amusing how often the cliche-stringers don't even seem to realize what their fine-sounding phrases really mean or where they come from. Those who argue for an activist judiciary, for instance, often remind us that the Constitution created three “separate but equal” branches of government. “Separate but equal” has a nice, familiar ring to it, but it's not in the Constitution. It comes from Plessy vs. Ferguson, the 1896 Supreme Court decision that ruled segregation perfectly legal.

And then there's the “wrong side of history” meme.

(Excerpt) Read more at aberdeennews.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 1984; animalfarm; georgeorwell; history; ingsoc; language; orwell; pages; politics

1 posted on 05/24/2012 7:38:45 PM PDT by ancientart
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To: ancientart
“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” ― George Eliot, Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life
2 posted on 05/24/2012 8:34:35 PM PDT by tumblindice (Our new, happy lives.)
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To: ancientart
For all of this, Orwell offers a simple cure. Throw out the clichŽs and quit speaking in jargon. “When you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself.”

If only that were true. Far more prevalent today is the dullard who seems to believe these popular clichés carry all the authority of Moses coming off the mountain.

Even when you diagram the error for them, such people stand transfixed, waiting for you to leave, so they can reconnect with Zeitgeist.

3 posted on 05/24/2012 8:51:20 PM PDT by papertyger ("And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if..."))
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