Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just Say it, Media

Just say it.

It's a nice, plain, easy-to-pronounce, and eminently clear word. lesbians lipstick LIE.

There you go. That wasn't so hard, was it? LIE. When a Senator or a Governor running for the nation's highest offices builds his or her speeches, not to mention attacks on the opposition, around LIES --indeed, when key components of a campaign platform itself are, provably, LIES--you need to do your job and say it loud and clear, every time: This is a LIE.

Forget untruthfulness, inaccuracy, falsehood, and (Heaven help me), mistatement.

If you're in doubt about the importance of using clear, straightforward words, may I refer you to the wisdom of the late English professor, semanticist, and Republican Senator S.I. Hayakawa, who, in his wonderful book Language in Thought and Action, wrote:

Euphemisms are paraphrases or lexical choices made in order to avoid the unpleasant or taboo connotations of words referring to certain (culture-conditioned) categories of meaning.

So yes, using plain, unembroidered language to report that trusted leaders are LYING--about the casus belli for invading Iraq, about the real cost of running up our nation's Chinese credit card ad infinitum while continuing to issue tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, about someone being a maverick and a fiscal conservative when he or she clearly isn't--will bring about uneasiness and even confusion among the comfortably numb.

Say the word anyway: LIE. The strapping, not-so-innocent-lately geopolitical teenager that is America can handle the truth, and She needs to hear it now more than ever.

Also at Cogitamus.

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