Republicans and the New Newspeak

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Gore Vidal will be a great loss when he finally dies.  He's one of the old-style intellectuals; arrogant as hell maybe, but also insightful and brimming with a moral sense that seems almost quaint nowadays. I would cheerfully rip Dick Cheney's pacemaker right out of his chest if it meant that Vidal got to stay around for just one more day.  Actually, it would take significantly less than that to get me to tear Cheney's pacemaker out (like perhaps, a free month of Netflix), but rhetorically, it illustrates my point. James Wolcott, the Interweb's inside man on the intelligensia, got an advance copy of Vidal's latest memoir, and provides the following excerpt, which neatly summarizes not only the success of the Republicans at gaining Orwellian control over the language of modern politics, but why simple decency can be made to seem like such an 

A current pejorative adjective is narcissistic. Generally, a narcissist is anyone better looking than you are, but lately the adjective is often applied to those 'liberals' who prefer to improve the lives of others rather than exploit them. Apparently, a concern for others is self-love at its least attractive, while greed is now a sign of the highest altruism. But then to reverse, periodically, the meanings of words is a very small price to pay for our vast freedom not only to conform but to consume.

And of course, there is the other side of the coin, the perverse dismissal of every good intention as "politically correct," which not only manages to portray humane gestures and ideas as authoritarian demands while also making every possible form of thuggishness and bigotry seem not only acceptable, but noble.  The Republicans have truly mastered the language of slavemasters.


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