Sunday, October 14, 2007
Lingua Tertii Imperii.
The title above is a phrase created by Viktor Klemperer whom I have written about before. It means "the Language of the Third Reich." Klemperer was a philologist (one who studies language) and a survivor of both the Nazi era and the Stalinist reign of terror in Soviet East Germany. He wrote extensively on the manipulation and misuse of language by those fascistic regimes.
Unfortunately, in America today we are manipulating the truth in the same way right now. We are using language to mask the lies and horror perpetuated by the current radical right regime. In today's New York Times, the paper Anne Coulter said she wished Timothy McVeigh had bombed (yes, she said that publicly but she is not excoriated), Frank Rich writes the following:
"By any legal standards except those rubber-stamped by Alberto Gonzales, we are practicing torture, and we have known we are doing so ever since photographic proof emerged from Abu Ghraib more than three years ago. As Andrew Sullivan, once a Bush cheerleader, observed last weekend in The Sunday Times of London, America’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques have a grotesque provenance: 'Verschärfte Vernehmung, enhanced or intensified interrogation, was the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the ‘third degree.’ It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation.'”
Verschärfte Vernehmung. Extraordinary Rendition. Homeland Security. Global War on Terror. Pre-emptive strike. Yellow-cake uranium. Smoking gun=mushroom cloud.
Blackwater (black shirts). The list goes on.
Today the news comes out that the government was spying on Americans through phone records well before 9/11. As the New York Times said today, we have watched "Mr. Bush shred the Constitution in the name of fighting terrorism."
Don't be a good German. Don't be polite. Don't acquiesce. Do something. Even if it's just writing a blog that nobody reads.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 1:03 PM