Sunday, February 6, 2011

"A reliable partner"

Does anyone not relish the whole kabuki lexicon of euphemism in which Americans' discourse is steeped, against what even poor John McCain would term, facts on the ground? Now, we did know what we meant, when we started to say, for example, that what we value in Egypt's government is that we have a reliable partner, in what we have been calling, since 1948, peace talks. But do we remember what we meant, or do we know only what Orwell was right to call, our own swindles and perversions in the language?

This is a portrait of reliability in partnership, drawn from the experience of Egypt of only this week. Egypt's reliable partner turns out to be Egypt; and in this photograph we cannot suppose ourselves to be alone in hearing brightly tinkling fractures in whole herds of the glass menagerie of American policy, on their way out the window. It would be a start, if not for government-speak, then for glaziers.

February, 2011

Eric Blair / George Orwell
Politics and the English Language
  Why I Write, 1946
Penguin Books, 2005©

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