Wayne Grytting's

American Newspeak

Baby Wars
In a move that will aid countless thousands of babies to internalize our cultures values, Kohlcraft Enterprises unveiled a line of Jeep SUV strollers. These are bigger, heavier-duty strollers with oversized wheels and a genuine Jeep logo, built to see that your baby will not come out second best in a collision with another toddler. Gail Smith, vice-president of marketing for Kolcraft said, "It was a natural. Its following the whole SUV market itself." (Could she mean straight back into infantilism?) Besides ruggedness, the Wall Street Journal suggested that "Jeep wants its strollers to be something fathers, too, are comfortable with." And just how do you make fathers comfortable? In America you do it by adding fake chrome wheels, fake lug nuts, fake gearshifts, and fake steering wheels. (WSJ 1/9/01)

Inner City Beautification
With limits on the numbers of outdoor billboards, inner city buildings have seen an explosion of advertising on their walls. Ads occupying up to 10,000 square feet can command rental fees of up to $60,000 a month. With such a profit potential, new buildings are being designed with external walls already reserved for billboards. To critics who question whether every building in a city need be covered with ads, Lee Wagman, the CEO of TrizecHahn Development Corp., had an answer that signaled an important cultural sea change. Pointing to the $600 million retail/hotel/entertainment complex his company was building in Los Angeles, Wagman noted that "Our project would look out of place if it didnt incorporate commercial messages." Some people just aint got no aesthetic sense. (WSJ1/10/01)

Coming Out Party
Departing President Clinton, as a final gift to the nation, created the position of a counterintelligence czar. Besides coordinating the efforts of countless agencies to defend national secrets, the czar has the added task of protecting critical secrets for American corporations. The Wall Street Journal reported intelligence officials were hopeful they could find someone "having the stature to engage chief executives." But when corporations are keeping secrets from the public, should the government be acting as an accomplice? Well, yes. Why? As the Journal explained, in words WTO protestors should learn by heart, "With the rise in globalization and industrial espionage, government officials now say national security and economic security are indistinguishable." To update the words of Revolutionary War hero Nathan Hale, "I regret I have but one life to give for my country and for Mobil Oil and Boeing and Time Warner and" (WSJ 1/11/01)

Raising the Bar
The Democratic Party toughened their standards for the position of chair of the Democratic National Committee. With campaign spending reform on the top of their minds, they decided they needed someone with experience in the area and so turned to controversial Clinton fundraiser Terry McAuliffe, whose difficulties with grand jury investigators after the 1996 election proved to be a plus. The current chair, Joe Andrew, defended McAuliffes questionable record as a fundraiser, pointing out that "He can speak about why we have to have campaign-finance reform from personal experience, with personal passion about the process" His chief opponent for the post, former Atlanta Mayor Jackson, apparently lacked such credentials. Rumor has it the DNC is scouring the South for White segregationists to head up civil rights posts. (WP 1/14/01)

Two Many Big Words
A lawsuit was filed by the ACLU after a school district in Anaheim, California, removed ten books from the shelves of Orangeview Junior High School. The books were a series of biographies of important gays and lesbians, such as James Baldwin, Oscar Wilde, Marlene Dietrich, Liberace, John Maynard Keynes and Martina Navratilova. You may all breathe a sigh of relief, because it turned out the books were not removed because of their homosexual content. Instead, said school district officials, they were removed because the reading level was "too high" for their students. In addition, they worried that children might be harassed if seen reading such books (not, I believe, because of the high reading level but the content). Since the library is obviously short of books now, you can help by sending books that match the districts expectations for junior high readers. May I suggest Dr. Seuss. (Reuters 12/23/00)

Hey gang, we're back after an over long hiatus spent working on a book project (I got a B+). Feel free to send in your own examples of Newspeak or harass the author at wgrytt@scn.org

More Newspeak is stockpiled at http://www.scn.org/newspeak