You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Why I Couldn’t Be A "Communicator"And Additions To My Reading List

Posted in Books, Politics by Stacy McMahon on January 18, 2007

Well I finished Dog Days. The pace got better towards the end, and it was almost fun to read. The problem just continued to be that I hate everyone in it, because they glorify spin and manipulation. I’ll save the details for a review post, but the Amazon customer reviews of another book (link via Instapundit) touch on a similar subject. One user quotes a very interesting insight by George Orwell that gets to the heart of my dislike of marketing spin:

Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”

Actually I think that gets to the heart of the most serious political problem in the US today: the excessive, obsessive pursuit of niceness, to the point where mainstream public dialogue worries about the dietary concerns of terrorist prisoners and justifies violent intimidation of political views that are seen as mean-spirited. I think this bassackwardness has a lot to do with the “euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness” that filters almost every contribution to public discussion. The atomic bombings of Japan, for example, were undertaken on the cold rational basis that killing 100,000 people today would force the Japanese oligarchs to end the war, preventing millions more deaths on both sides tomorrow. But can you imagine a political candidate making an argument like that on TV? Me either, but the refusal to face reality is how we get disasters like Somalia, Darfur, even global warming.

Anyway, I’ve read 1984 and Animal Farm, but I think it’s time I added more of Orwell’s essays and articles to my repertoire.


One Response

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  1. Clint said, on January 18, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Orwell is great. I just skimmed thru the 1954 version of 1984 with Peter Welling. I definitely liked the newer movie better, but was disappointed that neither had quite the brutal ending that was featured in the book. I think that really dampened some of the message.

    Raoul Vaneigem is good too. If you like reading essays about how fucked society is — I think they are of a slightly similar mindset.

    Animal Farm was great too. Too bad the movie did not live up to the book nearly as well as the latest 1984 movie did. . .

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