Tuesday, 6 March 2012

What's in a Name?

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."
Even back in the time of Shakespeare, the utility and meaning of words was discussed.

Listening to the ridiculous saga of Rush Limbaugh and what he said about professional activist Sandra Fluke (aside: could a better name have been created by the best writers in Hollywood clustered around their Macbooks?  I don't think so), I have become increasingly irritated.  Not so much by the crapulence of Limbaugh's remarks or the faux outrage of the left, though both add a certain additional level of nausea to the mix.

No; by the crushing deployment of silly cliches and talking points.  

So, a modest proposal.  

Let's try a moratorium on the following words and phrases that, I humbly propose, have gone well past their sell-by-dates.

War on :  From the 1960s, we've had "wars on"
  1. poverty
  2. drugs
  3. terror
  4. science
  5. religion
To this lexicon, we've added the "war on women" to the mix, which essentially means, Republican opposition to any policies that involve women and which the speaker doesn't like.  The meme is now in heavy rotation among Democrats and left-wing chattering heads.  It's almost as if Chris Matthews gets paid a dime each time he says it.

There's no "war on women" any more than there is a "war on Christmas."  Let's declare an armistice to the fake battles.  We can have the signing ceremony on the deck of the HMS Pinafore.  Bill O'Reilly and Ed Schultz can attend the signing ceremony.

Occupy :  The "Occupy Wall Street" movement was a silly, though perhaps necessary and relevant protest to the bailout culture, which used tax money to prop up criminals who wrecked the economy.  Setting aside that the "occupation" was in a public park blocks from the NYSE, but OK.

The movement quickly went from poignant and appropriate to ridiculous and cliched.  Watching privileged trust-fund kids "occupying" Princeton down the road was an exercise in narcissism.

Please; occupy a shower, and then a job.

Nuance:  One hears, ad nauseum, about how "nuanced" Mr Obama's positions are.  The dubious attacks on Libya - justified by more or less the same logic that Mr Bush used to back-fill the reasons for the attacks on Iraq (brutal dictator, bringing freedom, coalitions of allies) - are excused by Democratic apologistas. Frank Bruni (a former food critic who has followed Frank Rich from esoteric whiner to policy "expert") described how the president is "infinitely more nuanced" in how he arrived at his decisions than Bush.  Not sure how "nuance" can be quantified - maybe he considers Bush had one, and thus any figure in the numerator, divided by a naught in the denominator yields the figure? Tom Freidman (another NYT columnist) describes the president's policy towards China as "nuanced."  Blah blah blah.

Hemming and hawing and waiting for the poll figures to come in, while your propagandists concoct a logical cover in case things go south is not "nuance."  It's political cynicism.

Double Down: A relative newcomer, slung around by both left and right faster than "Brandi" can shuffle out the cards at Caesar's.  Basically, what is meant here is that your political opponent has made some decision that you don't like, and rather than (surprise surprise) proclaiming how brilliant YOU are, decides to stick with his decision. President Obama "doubles down" on his health care reform in pushing for contraceptive mandates.  Rick Santorum "doubles down" on his opposition to abortion by commenting on JFK.

Politics is not '21,' and neither of these guys as an Ace showing against a six.  Please; let's shuffle another deck and move on.

Doesn't Believe in Science: The most absurd of the lot, IMHO.  It's an attack that's been used both by the left (usually, with respect to climate change or evolution) or recently, the right (to describe President Obama's opposition to the Keystone XL project).  

"Science" is not a matter of faith.  There are axioms.  There are theories.  There is the gathering of evidence.  I do not have to "believe" that addition is reflexive and subtraction is not.  Every time someone accuses another of not "believing in science," I want to make the person kneel and repeat Goedel's Incompleteness Theorem 10 times and ask Alan Turing for absolution.

Hip: It used to mean the bones just below the waist.  Then it entered the lexicon to describe someone who did not live in the suburbs and drive a minivan.  It's used today, frequently, to describe the president.

What, exactly, makes Mr Obama "hip?"  I saw him warbling "Let's Stay Together" with Al Green a while back, and let's just say, I do not think Caesar's Palace is going to build a theatre for his exclusive performances following his exit from the White House.

A guy who wears dark blue denim jeans that look like his mom ironed them is not "hip" just because he happens to be well... you know...

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