Wayne Grytting's American Newspeak

Word Collisions

Compiled by Wayne Grytting wgrytt@scn.org

Divine Inspiration Dept.

A minor miracle occurred when 29 newspapers printed exactly the same letter to the editor, but all written by different people who had all found exactly the same words to praise President Bushs tax cut. The letters all begin with the sentences: "When it comes to the economy, President Bush is demonstrating genuine leadership. The economic growth package he recently proposed takes us in the right direction by accelerating the successful tax cuts of 2001..." Opponents of the miracle thesis point to the growing practice of Astroturf organizing by PR fronts and to a Republican Website called "gopteamleader.com" which also contains a copy of the exact same letter with easy e-mail links to newspapers. And prizes for letter "writers."

Darwin Awards

President Bush announcement of a tax cut for Wall Street investors was the occasion for one of the finer understatements of the past decade. The statement was made by White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, who announced, "The president does not believe in punishing people because they are successful." Indeed. According to the Brookings Institute, a typical teacher, police officer or fire person could expect a return of $350 to $500 under Bushs plan, while the typical multi-millionaire could expect about $88,000.

Amateur Hour

The University of California at Berkeley re-entered the censorship business with a resounding belly flop when officials decided to censor a fundraising letter for the Emma Goldman Papers Project. One sentence, in particular, by the noted anarchist was found to be too offensive to today's more patriotic sensibilities. Listen and see if you dont agree. In 1915, before we had entered World War I Emma is quoted exhorting people ''not yet overcome by war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated on them." Obviously a tad inappropriate. Regardless, the University was forced to back down from their stand after the case received too much attention in the press.

Poor White Trash Revenge Dept.

The latest housing style coming out of Florida are homes modeled on the depression era shacks known as cracker houses. An exclusive development west of Gainesville Florida known as Fanning Springs is featuring "a style of architecture in keeping with the charm of the old Florida cracker" homes. Houses come with a genuine corrugated metal roof, clapboard siding and an outhouse (with modern plumbing, of course). They do come with one minor difference -- a starting price of $750,000. But thats a small price for what developers describe as a chance to have a "cracker experience."

Axis of Evil Dept.

The Bush Administration set a new record for the number of times they used the phrase "failed to cooperate" in reference to Iraq without cluttering their prose with examples. Fortunately Ive had access to the governments top-secret "broad evidence" of Iraqs non-cooperation. Here are the highlights. 1. Seventy-three nail files unaccounted for. 2. Eighty-nine missing footnotes in the 12,000 page declaration 3. Twelve engineers observed eating excessive amounts of garlic before interviews. 4.Three scientists in Baghdad refused to lower their pants when requested. Okay, I made this up, but I think you get the point.

Wayne can be reached, sort of, at wgrytt@scn.org when he isn't reading a copy of American Newspeak (the book). Check outhttp://www.scn.org/newspeak