After the war the victors stole all the major inventions of the third Reich, from rocketry and jets to the autobahn, which morphed into the interstate freeway system under Eisenhower. The professorial crowds at Harvard and the Ivy League were much taken by Goebels’ techniques in mass communications manipulation, but it was a Canadian Japanese who made the break through in the field of word mongering. Sam Hayakawa’s book, “Language in Thought & Action” translated the obscure studies of Korzybski into simple terms for the American academics, who immediately began teaching “semantics” at every level, including high school, where studious teens examined the advertising of the day for loaded terms and hidden meanings.
Today those teens are the elder management of our society, in particular the government whose press releases and spokes folks are adept at public misdirection and obfuscation as their skill set. They write the editorials and news scripts for the teleprompter bimbos of our video world. They create the rules for copy writing in journalism schools whose real function is the exclusion of radical opinion from the national debate.
Lately the terminology of our struggles around the globe has undergone major change. Opposition to local autocratic regimes has morphed from “demonstrators” to “protestors” then “activists,” “militants,” “rebels” and finally “terrorists,” most of whom are still the same people who started off by asking for some modest reforms and freedoms. The harsh rulers, who often happen to be supporters of American interests and corporations, ate now “autocratic regimes” while anti U.S. governments are “dictatorships.”
In our new lexicon, “torture” morphs into “enhanced interrogation,” which now seems to be defined as “waterboarding at Gitmo,” while ignoring the many “black sites” in foreign lands where physical maltreatment included hanging by the elbows until joints dislocated and electric shock to various parts of the body.
Our overseas adventures are now “nation building” as opposed to “military occupation.” Our atomic arsenal is now a “nuclear deterrent” which fails to deter Pakistanis, Israelis, and Persians, plus the same old gang of Euro allies and Russia.
Changing terms is polishing turds, but it fails to mask the truth.
“Travus T. Hipp” is a 40-year veteran radio commentator with six stations in California carrying his daily version of the news and opinions. “The Poor Hippy’s Paul Harvey,” Travus is a member of the Nevada Broadcasters Hall of Fame, but unemployable in the Silver State due to his eclectic political views. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.