Banish These Terms

by Seth Rogovoy

 

Caravan

Administrative state

Homeland*

Base (as in “Trump’s base”)

Deep state

 

Where did these words and phrases come from? How did they so quickly and successfully enter common parlance without adequate vetting? How did the mainstream news media fall into a pattern of parroting right-wing political euphemisms as if they are real, objective things and not the manifestations of creeping, incipient, Orwellian neo-Fascistic propaganda?

It is our responsibility not to accept these terms into everyday language that normalizes them, that grants victory to those who would debase political discourse by hiding Stalinesque concepts behind seemingly inoffensive words.

I submit to you hereby a list of terms to be banished from everyday vocabulary as if they are normal things. If they must be used, it should always and only be between quotation marks or with a qualifier such as “so-called.”

 

Caravan

Administrative state

Homeland*

Base (as in “Trump’s base”)

Deep state

 

What other terms should be added to this list?

 

 

*Regarding “homeland,” as in “homeland security” – a new term introduced by the George W Bush administration post 9/11 — even conservative columnist Peggy Noonan took issue with the term at the time of its introduction, writing the following in a column in the Wall Street Journal:

“The name Homeland Security grates on a lot of people, understandably. Homeland isn’t really an American word, it’s not something we used to say or say now. It has a vaguely Teutonic ring–Ve must help ze Fuehrer protect ze Homeland!–and Republicans must always be on guard against sounding Teutonic.

“As a brilliant friend who is also actually an intellectual says, ‘I think it’s creepy, in a Nazi-resonating way, any time this sort of home-and-hearth language is used by people who are essentially police. When police honestly call themselves police, or “domestic security,” I salute and say “Yes officer.” When they call themselves “Protectors of the Hearth” I get the creeps.’ He adds, ‘I’d argue we want to feel we’re pursuing our old values in a new more dangerous world’ and suggests ‘trusty, familiar-sounding words as our touchstones.'”

 

  1 comment for “Banish These Terms

  1. Benno Friedman
    November 19, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Thanks for keeping us “straight” and “informed.” So many words have become “loaded” terminology. George Lakoff has also provided a set of toothpicks to help keep eyes open, even when one becomes tired, euthanized through repetition and the weight of sheer number.

    In the “not all is praise” dept.: I miss reading your written cues for media consumption. You’re so much better than the “tweet” form permits, not to mention how sullied the medium has become through Trump’s daily debasing. Please reconsider, even if it is only to use the same number of characters in a daily email.

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