Friday, June 29, 2012
"But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought."
― George Orwell, 1984
Over the past year, I have thought often of George Orwell's novel "1984." Certain aspects of Orwell's dystopian vision of the future have lingered with me since I first read his 1949 novel as a high school student, more years ago than I care to discuss. One of the parts of the book that made a lasting impression on me, far before my political consciousness fully emerged, was the use of doublespeak, language that deliberately distorts or reverses the meaning of words.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Over the past week, multiple articles and editorials have appeared in Madison print and internet media bearing a central theme: Now that the recall elections are over, we must put divisiveness aside, forget the sins of the recent past, and move forward together. The corollary to the primary “let’s all get along” theme is the “get over it, you lost” theme directed at the left. I read these articles and tried to feel the emotion of reconciliation these articles preached. I really tried. Yet, I felt nothing but numbness. I watched as Governor Walker announced his “beer and brat” summit, while at the same time his communications director Ciara Matthews tweeted taunts and insults at the Democrats for the failure of the recall. Yet I still felt nothing. Until, that is, I read an essay published by the Wisconsin State Journal/Madison.com on Saturday, June 9th. The article was written by Kenneth Mayer, a University of Wisconsin political scientist, and was titled “Time for healing to begin.” Upon reading the superficial yet shockingly condescending piece, I felt anger. And, as is often the case lately, I felt like writing.