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   Back to CONTENTS of Archives  Jasna Levinger   The Tyranny of Words   Every social tremor brings a new lexicon. It is nothing new. What seems to be interesting here is the fact that there are at least two types of euphemisms or style of rhetoric: aggressive (primarily promoting ideas) and defensive (primarily concealing motives). Without any attempt to analyse the reasons for such a division in language usage, it would be interesting to see what are some of the phrases used and for what purpose.   In the sixties a new democratic, open society had been promoted. In order to push forward new, liberal attitudes in each and every democratic society they had to be widely introduced. Language, especially through mass media, is the most effective and most convincing way of doing so. It is unobtrusive, hardly noticed by the majority of the receivers, yet doing its job. This "the new social order" brought about such new "inventions" as: sexism, racism, nepotism. All of these are rather aggressive expressions promoting a desirable behaviour of "socially acceptable individuals". One was inevitably stigmatised if one indulged in such "sins" as are those mentioned above. Every individual of some stature had to avoid being sexist, ageist or racist! Not complying, meant social nonacceptance or even an industrial tribunal. During the eighties and nineties perhaps the most blatant examples of verbal aggression and compulsion is the gradual enthronement of the terms: ethical and political correctness firm guidelines for appropriate behaviour. The language used in the current NATO actions is more of a defensive type. Not asking why, it would be worth analysing the meaning and the usage of such phrases.   The primary aim of the NATO campaign (bombing) was to avoid human catastrophe. Refugees (initially called ethnic Albanians, suddenly renamed Kosovars since there is a neighbouring country called Albania?) and their terrible predicament were a sufficient excuse. The motives were purely humanistic. Sudden influx of refugees, destruction of schools, hospitals, roads, bridges and people killed are not a denial of such motives; they are a proof of them!!!   The bombing was aimed at degrading the military force of a particular country. The involvement is not a war, it is an act of degrading? While doing this, the strong air-force is causing some collateral damage. Quite a euphemistic term actually telling us that people are being killed. Somebody's mother or son are only "collateral" phenomena. And when the humanistic aim is achieved (country devastated and people dead), through highly moral principles (defending the tradition of civilised Europe), then the army of some sort would enter a permissive or semi-permissive environment. How very innocent! The only possible interpretation of this permissiveness lies in the fact that there is no human element to oppose the action: having been killed or defeated. Is that permissive?   Of course it is. We do not have a nasty propaganda machine to tell us otherwise. They do. But that is why we degrade/kill them. They are talking against us! Our media do not do that. They more or less back us up and that is why they are not a propaganda machine!  Page 1 of 2JLevTyr11/03/2008file://C:\Documents and Settings\Dusan\Desktop\Kritika. Vlada\JLevTyr.html   All this together forms an interesting example of the sneaky tyranny of words used for promoting/propagandising "the aims".  Back to top    Page 2 of 2JLevTyr11/03/2008file://C:\Documents and Settings\Dusan\Desktop\Kritika. Vlada\JLevTyr.html
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