Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Winner 2013 Webby Awards for Best Political Website
Top Banner, Site wide
Apr 24, 2014

 Choose a size
Text Size


They Are Watching You
Lapland’s Mystery Moths Puzzle Science




The Divide


Truthdig Bazaar more items

 
Report

The War on Language

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Sep 28, 2009
AP / Mohammed Ballas

A Palestinian boy aims a toy gun as he stands next to a mural of militants in the West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp. The Arabic graffiti reads: “Many people held weapons but few used them against their enemies.”

By Chris Hedges

There is a scene in “Othello” when the Moor is so consumed by jealousy and rage that he loses the eloquence and poetry that make him the most articulate man in Venice. He turns to the audience, shortly before he murders Desdemona, and sputters, “Goats and monkeys!” Othello fell prey to wild self-delusion and unchecked rage, and his words became captive to hollow clichés. The debasement of language, which Shakespeare understood was a prelude to violence, is the curse of modernity. We have stopped communicating, even with ourselves. And the consequences will be as extreme as in the Shakespearean tragedy.

Those who seek to dominate our behavior first seek to dominate our speech. They seek to obscure meaning. They make war on language. And the English- and Arabic-speaking worlds are each beset with a similar assault on language. The graffiti on the mud walls of Gaza that calls for holy war or the crude rants of Islamic militants are expressed in a simplified, impoverished form of Arabic. This is not the classical language of 1,500 years of science, poetry and philosophy. It is an argot of clichés, distorted Quranic verses and slogans. This Arabic is no more comprehensible to the literate in the Arab world than the carnival barking that pollutes our airwaves is comprehensible to our literate classes. The reduction of popular discourse to banalities, exacerbated by the elite’s retreat into obscure, specialized jargon, creates internal walls that thwart real communication. This breakdown in language makes reflection and debate impossible. It transforms foreign cultures, which we lack the capacity to investigate, into reversed images of ourselves. If we represent virtue, progress and justice, as our clichés constantly assure us, then the Arabs, or the Iranians, or anyone else we deem hostile, represent evil, backwardness and injustice. An impoverished language solidifies a binary world and renders us children with weapons. 

How do you respond to “Islam is the solution” or “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior”? How do you converse with someone who justifies the war in Iraq—as Christopher Hitchens does—with the tautology that we have to “kill them over there so they do not kill us over here”? Those who speak in these thought-terminating clichés banish rational discussion. Their minds are shut. They sputter and rant like a demented Othello. The paucity of public discourse in our culture, even among those deemed to be public intellectuals, is matched by the paucity of public discourse in the Arab world.

This emptiness of language is a gift to demagogues and the corporations that saturate the landscape with manipulated images and the idiom of mass culture. Manufactured phrases inflame passions and distort reality. The collective chants, jargon and epithets permit people to surrender their moral autonomy to the heady excitement of the crowd. “The crowd doesn’t have to know,” Mussolini often said. “It must believe. ... If only we can give them faith that mountains can be moved, they will accept the illusion that mountains are moveable, and thus an illusion may become reality.” Always, he said, be “electric and explosive.” Belief can triumph over knowledge. Emotion can vanquish thought. Our demagogues distort the Bible and the Constitution, while their demagogues distort the Quran, or any other foundational document deemed to be sacred, fueling self-exaltation and hatred at the expense of understanding. The more illiterate a society becomes, the more power those who speak in this corrupted form of speech amass, the more music and images replace words and thought. We are cursed not by a cultural divide but by mutual cultural self-destruction. 

The educated elites in the Arab world are now as alienated as the educated elites in the United States. To speak with a vocabulary that the illiterate or semiliterate do not immediately grasp is to be ostracized, distrusted and often ridiculed. It is to impart knowledge, which fosters doubt. And doubt in calcified societies, which prefer to speak in the absolute metaphors of war and science, is a form of heresy. It was not accidental that the founding biblical myth saw the deliverer of knowledge as evil and the loss of innocence as a catastrophe. “This probably had less to do with religion than with the standard desire of those in authority to control those who are not,” John Ralston Saul wrote. “And control of the Western species of the human race seems to turn upon language.”

Advertisement

Square, Site wide
The infantile slogans that are used to make sense of the world express, whether in tea party rallies or in Gaza street demonstrations, a very real alienation, yearning and rage. These clichés, hollow to the literate, are electric with power to those for whom these words are the only currency in which they can express anguish and despair. And as the economy worsens, as war in the Middle East and elsewhere continues, as our corporate state strips us of power and reduces us to serfs, expect this rage, and the demented language used to give it voice, to grow.


New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By elisalouisa, September 29, 2009 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

Good post the beerdoctor, crisp and to-the-point. This is not the first time Mr.
Hedges denounces martyrdom as forbidden suicide rather than noble as believed
in many religions. There again it may be a play on words. Your comment on
transubstansiation is another subject for another day and a belief many
Christians do not adhere to. Wish he would have further delved into that biblical
myth that saw the deliverer of knowledge as evil and the loss of innocence as a
catastrophe.

Report this
Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, September 29, 2009 at 4:28 am Link to this comment

The assault on Hitchens support of the Bush war in Iraq is so old Hedges is scraping the
bottom of the dead fish barrel to make his latest patronizing case about almost gutteral
debased language (for who or what kind of people does he think reads his articles?
Surely not the ignorant illiterate masses?  Oh, the denizens of Truthdip are the
ignorant illiterate masses, I get it.)  I check it out only to see if he ever says anything
worthwhile.  He never disappoints by writing anything worthwhile.  The question about
the use of language has been said by brilliant thinkers, Wittgenstein, Barzun, Safire,
Bloom, Hayakawa, Chomsky, et al, oh and of course let’s not forget Orwell.  Surely
Hedges doesn’t hope to attain to their level with this tirade.  He certainly uses a lot of
words to make his listless case.  What is so funny is that there are those here who have
to be told over and over and over and over how to think, and is it because they have
not been taught to think for themselves by the likes of Hedges?  The self-aggrandized. 
Give us a bloody break!  Now the quote from Hume is intelligent, thank you Anarcissie! 
One must also be careful to watch out for the commenter who posts the exact same cut
and paste paragraphs on every forum they haunt.  It is the broken record strategy, ho
hum, yawn.  Can’t something new be said about the NeoConservative sophists?  Can’t
we just f’ Hitler’s mustache?  No, people didn’t devolve, they just go brain dead. 
Homilies like Belief usurps reason and intelligence and can never be justified. are
soooooo uplifting.  And does anyone really think using the bible as a reference has any
relevance?  Yikes, where are the adults around here?  truedigger3 comes closest!  Yes!
so glad to see Sepharad back!  You have been missed.  I know we don’t agree here, but
we don’t always have to.

Well as I read up the thread, there are some cogent minds about this article,
colin2626262 (wow! that’s an interesting id name, is it your Debit card code?
MasterCard or Visa?), I liked your comments though.  Makes me have some hope!  And
there is even some humor out of Amon Drool (are we still enemies?),

I wonder if Hedges ever communicated with himself?  He might start there (did someone
mention Socrates?)

Report this
Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, September 29, 2009 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

Re: Chris Hedges

Your quote: “We have stopped communicating, even with ourselves.”

I would enamor that it would be especially with ourselves.  How will we or could we understand another when we have not yet faced or challenged ourself to understand the same?  It is ignorance which drives most supposed wisdom and it is this same ignorance/delusion which creates all the banes of humanity.

A simple rule, passed through the ages pleads, “Treat others as you yourself would like to be treated”.  What makes this very simple and easily understood premise so incredibly foreign to some…?

Report this
Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 29, 2009 at 1:22 am Link to this comment

Amon Drool, September 29 at 2:24 am #

Savonarola would likely be thrilled by hearing his
name; but likely horrified at what he’d see. Today,
maybe he would have been a Falwell or a Baker.

Report this
Outraged's avatar

By Outraged, September 29, 2009 at 1:03 am Link to this comment

Wow.  I perceive that many others don’t understand “religion” at all… in it’s very basic sense.  If I do something “religiously”, is it a religion for me?  If I “take a stand” (whatever the issue) that CANNOT be questioned or usurped, is this a religion….?  If I stand forthrightly, and demand recognition OUTSIDE of known parameters… am I standing for a belief or a known…?

Taking a position regarding knowns is one thing, holding a position regardless of qualifiable evidence or current knowns… is religion.  Anything can be a religion.  Check history, we (humans) have invented them consistently.  We may have “changed them up” so to speak as time wore on, but we invent and re-invent them. 

The true nature of religion is lost upon the gung-ho.  Theirs is a belief system rooted in half-truths, and these half truths do not necessarily incorporate a god in the traditional sense, although they do that too.  The ideology for them is a veritable god, nonetheless.

Report this

By Amon Drool, September 28, 2009 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment

oops ...savonarola

Report this

By Amon Drool, September 28, 2009 at 11:03 pm Link to this comment

heh…i’m always amazed at the responses our monday morning savoranola brings on

Report this

By ryanharish, September 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Its not about lenguage.Some selfish people doing these thing for his self .Religen plying vital role in it .

Report this

By voice2, September 28, 2009 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

These words and words you read or write in blogs, do not contribute anything to real communication, which of course, is spoken communication. At best written words create the illusion that they replace spoken words, but the reality is still patiently waiting for us to be discovered and acknowledged: nothing can replace the spoken word! Yes, all our writings are in vain! Yes, we need to talk with each other.

Report this

By colin2626262, September 28, 2009 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges: Prophet or Hypocrite?

America is a wasteland, a corporate cesspool filled with ignorant television watching illiterates who are unable to distinguish illusion from reality.  America is an imperialist, war mongering nation ruled by elites, those scum of the earth deceivers, those bankers and CEO’s and politicians.  America is delusional, and the people living in America don’t realize their roles in this delusion.  America is falling apart.  America is going to be ruled soon by fascists, right-wing lunatics.  The Christian churches in America are symbols of decadence, heresy, stupidity, violence, fascism, bigotry, emotionality and childishness.  Does this view of America sound familiar to you?  If it doesn’t, then welcome to the world of Chris Hedges.
  Mr. Hedges used to work for The New York Times.  Before that, he spent some time in divinity school (Harvard Divinity School, he likes to remind us).  While he was working for the Times, he happened to give a speech in Rockford, Illinois.  His speech was a denunciation of war as such, but he focused on the Iraq war, which, when he gave his speech in 2003, had just begun.  He wanted to warn the audience, a class of graduating seniors, about what was to come—not for them in their future lives and careers but for America in its war in Iraq.  Mr. Hedges chose to alienate everyone in the crowd with his speech.  It was an anti-war speech, although a somewhat hypocritical one, seeing that he views pacifists as little more than well meaning idiots.  Mr. Hedges lost his job over this speech.

Report this

By colin2626262, September 28, 2009 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

If you haven’t encountered Mr. Hedges in person, you can encounter him very easily in his essays and books.  He writes a column every week on truthdig.com, a relatively obscure site, and he’s published a number of books, which, in some cases, simply recycle what he writes in his weekly columns.  All this background information aside, we should turn to the main point.  What is it exactly that Chris Hedges represents?  That’s a fairly difficult question to answer because one gets the impression that he himself doesn’t know.  And moreover, he takes pride in not knowing.  It’s part of the existential side to his nature, which is in conformity with human life, according to him.  Human beings, and life itself, are vain and absurd.  We are simply struggling to find meaning amidst our suffering.  We’re all terribly immoral at heart, and there’s really no way to ever overcome our sinful nature, except by degrees—that is, becoming less of a sinner.  In other words, we’re no good, and life is evil.
  Are you depressed yet?  I haven’t even gotten to the worst parts.  You’d better steel yourself.  Mr. Hedges wants us to live in reality.  That’s his constant theme.  When confronted with charges of cynicism and pessimism, he rebuts, quite causally, “It’s just reality.”  Sure it is.  It’s his reality.  Mr. Hedges likes to view his reality as universal reality, as everyone’s reality, the whole world’s reality, and if you disagree with his reality, you’re not only in disagreement with him; you’re in disagreement with truth itself.  Now you see why he writes on truthdig.com.  He’s very aware of language.  He prides himself on his own prose.  He’s eloquent, surely.  He’s no Emerson, but he doesn’t aspire to be.  After all, Emerson gave lectures about the identity between the soul’s essence and the Godhead.  Chris Hedges does nothing of the sort.  Let’s examine his religious views.  He called himself a Christian in an interview at one time.  I don’t know what he meant by that.  He also called himself religious, although he admitted he was unorthodox in his religious beliefs.  Let’s see what he may have meant by that.  Let’s see what kind of a man we’re dealing with.
  The first thing you need to know about him is that he’s a man’s man.  Yes, he is.  Don’t forget that.  He won’t let you anyway.  He’s very adamant about this point when he gives lectures.  He tells the story of being a college student at Colgate University.  His father supported gay rights because his father’s brother was gay.  All right, nothing wrong there.  His father then tells young Chris to set up a gay and lesbian organization at Colgate.  Chris has to put his name on the charter as the leader of the club.  Well, Chris isn’t a homosexual.  So he never goes to any of the meetings, he assures us.  Then, he tells us, in frank language, that a guy who served him food in the dining hall called him a faggot every day.  Chris didn’t appreciate this.  Therefore, he boasts, with a deadpan tone of voice, “I made it my undergraduate mission to seduce his girlfriend.”  Ha-ha, the audience chuckles.  Sometimes, depending on the vulgarity of the crowd, there’s outright laughter and guffawing.  Then Mr. Hedges goes on to give his lecture about morality in America and the role of religion in human life.  Is there something wrong here?

Report this

By colin2626262, September 28, 2009 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

The answer is yes.  There is something wrong.  Mr. Hedges doesn’t believe in God, per se.  He believes in non-rational experiences that, for him, constitute the religious impulse.  These non-rational experiences are, in his words, love and grief and loneliness and so on.  They’re human experiences and emotions.  However, they’re religious, in his eyes.  There’s no God involved in these non-rational experiences.  After all, Mr. Hedges views God as a verb, something that human beings undergo in and for themselves alone; he also thinks God’s real meaning is compassion, how we treat others, what we do, not what we say. 
    Religion, for Mr. Hedges, is morality.  There’s no outside Power or Being to whom one prays for divine intervention.  That’s childish to him.  That’s not rational.  You see, in his world, even atheists and agnostics can be religious, because if religion is morality or simply human feelings, then there’s nothing keeping someone who doesn’t believe in a God from being God Himself—that is to say, from being good.
  Yet, here’s the contradiction par excellence.  Mr. Hedges doesn’t think in terms of what’s good in life.  If you read his essays and books, you come to the conclusion, if you believe what he writes, that there’s nothing good.  Not even children are good.  In his world, it’s bad to be a child.  Children are ignorant and stupid.  He wants us to be deep thinking intellectuals, like he is, not silly children.  There’s only one good in his world, and that’s compassion, or acts of love for the sake of love alone, not for personal gain.  However, we have to ask if the blind are leading the blind.  Does he practice what he preaches?  I have a personal response to that question.
  I wrote to Mr. Hedges.  We corresponded for a little while.  I told him about a book I was writing.  I thought maybe he’d be interested in it.  I’d read almost all of his books and commented on them.  I asked him if he’d like to read my book.  I thought maybe he’d reply, saying, “Well, I’m really swamped with projects right now, my own book tour and everything.  I don’t really have the time, but thanks for thinking of me.”  He didn’t say anything like that.  He didn’t say anything at all.  He didn’t even respond to me.  He simply ignored me.  Now is that a compassionate way to act?  To just ignore someone who’s pouring his heart out to you in a letter?  I deeply respected Chris Hedges.  I looked up to him as a knowledgeable, moral voice.  I thought he was someone I could view as a friend.  But he’s not my friend.  I don’t need a friend like that.  Anyone who speaks of truth and morality and religion—and peace—and then doesn’t even have the humanity to respond to someone in an email is a liar and hypocrite.  I’m sorry to make this personal, but in reality, my reality, everything is personal, including a personal God, in whom Chris does not believe.  I asked him if he prayed, and he didn’t answer me.
      Having said all this, I don’t actually know Mr. Hedges, and he doesn’t know me.  I think it’s possible to get to know someone and become friends with him or her even though there are differences and misunderstandings between the two sides.  “With God, all things are possible.”  Without God, though, your view of life looks like Chris Hedges’s.  I’ve seen a lot of interviews he’s given, and I’ve never seen him smile, not once.  He won’t be smiling when if he reads this, either.  I just hope he knows I didn’t write what I wrote here out of malice.  I wrote it because I felt I had to.  A lie cannot go unanswered if it’s masquerading as truth.

Report this

By KDelphi, September 28, 2009 at 10:02 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad—how are you doing?

Report this
thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, September 28, 2009 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment

Hey I will admit I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but what I gather from Chris Hedges latest sermon is that the responsible use of religious language comes only from those who are educated and scholarly in their pursuits of the verities found in the so-called sacred texts. It reminds me of when Andre Malraux once said to an ambassador from China: “But of course you have read Shakespeare.”
As a writer who professes a Christian faith, Mr. Hedges seems to assume that religion properly applied is actually a benevolent force in the development of humankind. Never mind that unrelenting fanaticism has always been an essential ingredient for any great faith based movement.
It also seems to me rather contemptuous for Mr. Hedges to denounce martyrdom as forbidden suicide when the modus operandi of the Christian religion is based on not only on blood sacrifice, but metaphysically speaking, spiritual cannibalism… you know, the “this is my body”, “this my blood” sacrament thing.
Chris Hedges pointing out Christopher Hitchens as a source for ridicule, seems a rather puny shot. Hitchens, who is often a ridiculous drunken sot simply to be seen as someone with a contrary opinion, is a very easy, way too easy, target to complain about. But their silly debate over God a couple of years back seems to have stuck in the Rev. Hedges crawl space. Whatever…

Report this

By TheRealFish, September 28, 2009 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment

Some (finger is pointing at myself) are old enough to remember when “liberal” was not a curse word, but more simply a statement of ideology that, like the roots of the word, stand for liberty, freedom of action and thought, more tolerant and more widely accepting of the presence of other opinions. A “liberal” might not agree with those other opinions, but respected that somebody might hold those opinions.

It has successfully become perverted to the point that liberals feel compelled to call themselves “progressives” — a euphemism that doesn’t really contain a core ideology.

To Chris Hedges (and this from an atheist): Amen.

Orwell’s 1984 should be mandatory reading for its prescient prediction of where we stand today, and how turning florid prose to mere verbiage whose meanings are flipped inside-out, backwards, on their heads can lead to mental, maybe physical, but most certainly (today) monetary slavery.

(But then, I guess the imagery of Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” wa-a-a-ay back in 1927 where folks were literally depicted as just cogs in the machinery does spring to mind here. I digress.)

War is peace, aggression pacifies, and work on behalf of the whole becomes fascism.

Welcome to 21st Century America.

Report this
Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 28, 2009 at 9:14 pm Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, September 28 at 9:17 pm #

I’ve always had the greatest respect for Zappa’s
integrity; the good die young. Thanks for the vid.

Report this

By elisalouisa, September 28, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges covers quite a bit of ground in this interesting column. The catch phrases used by Mussolini and Hilter are just that. Our politicans also use them. One that was especially true was Ross Perot’s “The giant sucking sound”: meaning that the
NAFTA treaty would result in our jobs going to Mexico. Back in 1992 that man from Texas also said: I’m Ross, you’re the Boss” clever and even true at a time when workers still had gainful employment.  These catch phrases bear no similarity to the Palestinians’ expression of anger in what few ways they have
such as graffiti. The news media owned and controlled by the elite also wages a war on words for the minds of the people. “Websites such as Truthdig are a welcome respite from the canned news that Fox spews out with a spin that distorts meaning to suit the purpose of those in control. In his last paragraph Hedges quotes Victor Klemperer: “Words may be little doses of arsenic. They are consumed without being noticed; they seem at first to have no effect, but after a while, indeed, the effect is there.”  You are what you consume both physically and mentally.

Report this

By cyrena, September 28, 2009 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment

“..Othello fell prey to wild self-delusion and unchecked rage, and his words became captive to hollow clichés. The debasement of language, which Shakespeare understood was a prelude to violence, is the curse of modernity…”

This is a GREAT piece Mr. Hedges!! (at least in my opinion) but it happens to be a favorite thought channel for me. This rhetoric of the past few decades, (which became worse with the 2nd version of Bush-Cheney Era) has literally DESTROYED the fabric that holds us together as a society, and turned a large portion of the population into the most neurotic species on the globe.

When the words begin to mean the opposite of what we’ve always known them to mean, and when a powerful political operative makes the claim, (as did Karl Rove) that we are an EMPIRE, and can therefore CREATE OUR OWN REALITY. That meant changing the very foundation of our LANGUAGE, so that all context and sub-context is totally lost to the SPIN, SPIN, SPIN, SPIN….

The Celebrity Cult hasn’t helped. For instance…Oprah and all of her damn gurus. Just get this Chef, this Personal Body Trainer, that Exercise Equipment, or this Herbal Tea, or her ‘Secret’ to a wonderful life, and that’s all you need, as long as one’s bras fit OK, and she’s got a guru for that as well.)

But after 20plus years of that, she just keeps getting bigger bigger. Or as a colleague would say; “As big as the house, and she keeps adding rooms!” And THAT’S the ‘advice’ that a big chunk of the population lives and breathes. Talk about an irreconcilable conflict. It’s a hyper-example of “Do as I say, (because I can make a lot of money if you do) but not as I DO!!”

Yep, they’ve really messed up our primary means of communications in a so-called modern society. This war on language has been MOST destructive in terms of what it has done to our rule of law, which is allegedly what we’re about. (at least that was the idea in the founding documents.)

That’s not good.

Report this
OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, September 28, 2009 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment

How do you respond to ... “Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior”? How do you converse with someone who justifies the war in Iraq—as Christopher Hitchens does—with the tautology that we have to “kill them over there so they do not kill us over here”?

And how praytell, should a Christian converse with Chris Hedges, who doesnt know rhetoric, and doesnt know logic? Hedges hasnt a clue what a “tautology” is, but used the term anyway because it sounds so smart. How can a Christian have an argument with someone like that?

For those who care to learn, a tautology in rhetoric is when you say the same thing twice in one sentence, like this: Chris Hedges writes an article and he makes some important mistakes. That is rhetorical tautology, which is bad form, because it wastes everyone’s time by saying the same thing obly with different words. Well, its more of a joke than a real tautology, but you get the idea.

Here is a tautology in propositional logic (the famous A implies B, B implies C, therefore we know that A implies C): When Chris Hedges writes he makes important errors. People who make important errors should not be trusted. Therefore, when Chris Hedges writes he should not be trusted. That is a logical tautology, which is very good form. And there are many other types of logical tautologies. Please learn them. Please use them.

Without a Christian to guide you around the potholes of Truthdig, you guys would be lost.

As usual, i expect only abuse for my trouble and certainly no thanks.

But ‘you’re welcome’ anyway.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 28, 2009 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

We’re talking about words?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ISil7IHzxc

Report this

By Sepharad, September 28, 2009 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment

A fine, intelligent article, Mr. Hedges. Reminds me of why the general semantacists were so particular and insistent that “the map is not the territory.” Words, like ideas, have consequences.

Report this

By voice of truth, September 28, 2009 at 3:57 pm Link to this comment

It seems to me that Hedges makes a clear implication that the elite literates are liberal, while the illiterate masses are conservatives.  That was my take away, which is ridiculous, of course.

I also believe that the best examples in the last 50 years, the ones that have mobilized millions using simple slogans, eloquent speaking and playing to the basest belief system, are “Hope” and “Change”.

Report this
Political Insurgent's avatar

By Political Insurgent, September 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

@truedugger3:

Coming from Chris Hedges, who from his articles I’ve found to be a sensible and intelligent man, it is a pretty dumb thing to equate the angry Palestinian youth to the babbling “teabaggers”, who not only have nothing to fight for, but their entire name “teabagger” is based on a premise that has absolutely nothing to do with what they “represent”. Teabaggers are not only uneducated, they’re BLISSFULLY uneducated, which is in my mind, even worse than just being plain old uneducated.

The Palestinians who march against the Israeli terror regime remind me a lot of the youths and students that went out in droves to protest the Vietnam war. Granted, the anti-war protesters weren’t killed en masse, nor did they lack the basic necessities that human beings in a modern civilized society can’t live without, but the passion was the same and the truth in their words and anger was the same. The militias and militaries and teabaggers of the world have nothing in comparison to justified, passionate anger.

Report this

By Seth Stubbs, September 28, 2009 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Those who speak about of the ‘elite’ exhibit par excellence that ‘slave morality’ of Nietzsche. Humans, like all other species, are not equal: there are strong and weak, beautiful and ugly, intellectual and stupid. Things are no different than they have been for millenia; modern ideals increasingly—and with genetics, etc., evermore feverishly—devalue everything (making everyTHING available to everyone (plastic surgery, community colleges, the commodity of luxury (or its mere appearance) in general). We are in a ‘free-society’ thus modern men (the free-spirited i.e. the evermore slavish(the ‘bad’ if we consider an older aristocratic morality)) who are base find themselves loftily in positions of power—but really their demographic is the herd. Thus we find language to become evermore base and ‘common.’ Common language of the free-society only affects the masses. The more base the common language becomes, the more complex, poetic, and refined the intellectual language becomes. Most people are idiots—though innocently, and I say so with sympathy—and their weaknesses will be exploited—as they always have been—though not through upfront—‘actual’/‘apparent’—slavery. The slaves feel helpless and complain about how evil the masters are; as if they are the good (even the better) ones.—As if the master’s (are free) to self-deny.

P.S. Note that the technique of domination (what is called ‘evil’) spreads or increases as the modern-humanitarian technique (what is called ‘good’) spreads or increases. If we as a nation implode because of reckless war spending and poor budgeting(what 9/11 provoked) then we might well say (not with dissent) that the terrorists exhibited superior technique than that which we are using (bombardment/ground and pound) We never considered (or rather did we?—I reference halliburton) how useful the war is for us vs. collecting/stabilizing ourselves. (Also remember that our transparency in the world is everpresent dominance—and thus cunning is being used against it (oh? just like slave morality against masters)). Propaganda affects, again, the mass—which watches a lot of t.v., and then goes out and consumes. The herd complies—with pride. What about people who ‘don’t watch t.v.’/‘aren’t consumers?’—Enjoy life over spectacle/aren’t social/have a strong will/command? Are they evil? (And again—if they are considered to be so by the former type—this all goes back to the ‘belief’ in free will; too the ‘belief’ in a subject that causes; a motive behind a force.) Perhaps the ‘problem’ people speak of is that everything becomes realized at such a rapid rate—we forget we are still man—the manly animal—and we assume that our—modern man’s—scientific ‘knowledge’ is truth—by default.

P.S.S. Some people are feverishly ‘too human.’ As if humans are ‘not animals’/‘didn’t emerge from planet earth’/are ‘supposed to be above nature.’ And these people are always a part of the herd. Those technicians/specialists who seek to ‘change’/‘create’ nature through simulacra and simulation (genetics/artificial (or rather our ideal of intelligence superimposed on an object) intelligence/medicine in general) are doing this for the ‘good’ of the common man, the herd animal—are they? A part of the herd—of modern ideals!

Is humanity (as much as the base, the herd) really free not to destroy itself? The Greeks were too Narcissistic to employ technique/technology, though they knew it could be employed—they had slaves. We liberate the slaves, and replace them with technology—at the benifit of the slaves, but at the expense of our habitat.
Does language not reflect our existential condition?
Is our existence, not unlike our individual lives, not one long (or rather not so much) detour to death/non-existence?
Modernity inverts the world.—When ‘we’ are all ‘liberated’/‘equal’/‘without caste’ what will have value? Is value not existent only in relation to baser values?

Report this
tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, September 28, 2009 at 2:20 pm Link to this comment

Leefellr-

I am not sure what you mean.

Report this

By truedigger3, September 28, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges wrote:
“The infantile slogans that are used to make sense of the world express, whether in tea party rallies or in Gaza street demonstrations, a very real alienation, yearning and rage.”
___________________________________________________

This is one of the dumbest and misleading statements written by Chris Hedges.
He equates the real rage and agony expressed by the people of Gaza after being subjected to months long blockade by the Israelis and then followed by air raids that dropped 500 pounds bombs and phosphorous fire boms on a crowded urban area resulting in the death of 1500 and wonding and maiming of thousands more mostly ordinary civilians and their children, he equates that with the manufactured anger expressed by the tea bagger against the “socialist” and “oppressor” Obama.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, September 28, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Tropicgirl, thanks for the list, I thought Hedges was talking about slogans like loose lips sink ships or Obama is a socialist, or even everyday rap and street talk?

Report this

By KDelphi, September 28, 2009 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

Orwell did say it much better. But, then he confuses ‘distorting the Bible and Quuran” with interpreting them. They are both filled with violence, murder, hatred, etc.

In “American Fascists”., Hedges says,  (of promim-nent research universities) (p.198) “These institutions—self-absorbed, compromised by their close relationship with governemtn and corporations, given enough of the pie to be comjplacemt—were unwilling to deal with the fundamental moral questions and inequities of the age…” It still holds true.
Everyone seem to enjoy saying things like, “when will we get a black man in the WH, when will we get a female in the WH, when wil we get a latino on the Supreme Court..” while millions wait for the answer to, “when will we get someone not Ivy Leaguye in the WH or on the SC”? Its not like the Ivy Leaguers are doing all the well! When will Merkins decide that the elites do NOT “know best”?

Jon, do you know what happened to the protestor who was taken away in a car, by either military or uniformed mercenaries? (not being able to tell the difference is intentional, folks)

Lefeller and others: Hitchens has stated why he became a US citizen—-(on C-Span to Brian Lamb—but he was drunk per usual)“I became a US citizen because it is harder to get sued in the uS”. Thats what he said. I enjoy him sometimes, too, but almost always disagree..I like watching people who deseserve to have their liver rot out go about doing it sometimes…

In “Am Fascists”, Hedges also quotes Sinclair Lewis,who, in 1935, wrote in, “It Cant Happen Here”:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag, carrying a cross”. (He doestn use that exact quote in “Am Fascists”, but, then a Harvard Divnity student probably wouldnt, as far as I know)Yet, Hedges decries atheism (‘as a religion” , so do I…if you “dont believe”—why constantly talk about it?) as he decries extreme or false religiosity.

He is a confusing man.

I cant wait to see what rfidler has to say about this article!

Report this

By TAO Walker, September 28, 2009 at 12:20 pm Link to this comment

Once our tormentors CONvinced some captive humans that “civilization” was the best thing ever to come along here, and over time accomplished the near total “individual”-ization of their two-legged livestock, the degenerate state of every-day Human language evident here in these latter days (and exploited ruthlessly by ‘vested interests’ of every stripe) became completely inevitable.  Moreover, all the “modern” electro-mechanical protheses that keep the domesticated peoples from face-to-face living/breathing communication only amplify many-fold the effects lamented here….crippling in the process even what little real conspiring most do by limiting its terms to the bankrupt ‘fund’ of pejoratives and cliches it’s mostly become, by design.


This Old Indian has suggested here several times, for example, how the English-language term for the Organic Form of Humanity within the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth, “community,” has been devalued to utter worthlessness by being applied slap-happily (but intentionally) to every random collection of manufactured “individuals” there is….leaving many to languish half-wittingly in a terribly diseased CONdition, dead-certain, though, theirs is the best of all possible virtual ‘worlds.’  That’s partly why some of us free wild Human survivors of the on-going Turtle Island holocaust prefer the Lakotah/Dakotah/Nakotah word Tiyoshpaye to designate our Natural Form here.

When Chris Hedges and others here turn their precious attention from such merely malodorous excrescences as the debasement and toxification of language, to the deeper corruption that is generating ALL the poisonous shit that is not just stinking-up but actively destroying their very lives, they might finally find some firm Living Ground from which to address the already awful and still deteriorating condition their common CONdition is in.  A species so dependent (for better or worse) on language, whose members are nevertheless rendered unable to employ it sensibly to mutually beneficial effect, is surely in a serious world-o’-hurt.

This is yet another lethal liability (of the domesticated CONdition) that our tame Sisters and Brothers can get free-of only by shedding their suffocating “selfs” and getting back together as actual Human Beings taking care of one another and All our Relations right where they live and breathe.  Life Herownself just doesn’t ‘do’ “business.”  Her Way is all a never-ending Song ‘n’ Dance.

So your ‘money’ (and all it will ‘buy’) is absolutely no-good here.

Hokahey!

Report this

By Conterry, September 28, 2009 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, a bumper sticker retort to Mr. Hitchens: If they die over there, they cannot vote Republican over here.

Report this

By Jean Gerard, September 28, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I found the caption under the cartoon of armed Arab youth particularly interesting.  “Many people held weapons, but few used them against their enemies.”
    Actually, it is very difficult to teach people to kill.  In the final analysis, hours and hours of severe training, brainwashing and cruelty are required, and even then the records show that, in actual battle situations, many never fire their guns. 
    In the case of machinery, of course, it’s different where one firing kills many. The above facts are pushing weapons makers into a “wired war” technology.  Firing by computer from remote distances makes killing still easier—and more cowardly as well.  The human-ness of people is what suffers most in times of war—and what must be preserved if the human race is to continue. Resistance to propaganda can also be taught, and therein lies part of the hope.

Report this

By Robert L., September 28, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can someone find me where Christopher Hitchens
writes or says that we need to “kill them over there
so they do not kill us over here”? I seem to
remember an interview where he called that argument
disingenuous and disrespectful to the intelligence
of the American people. Also, is that argument a
*tautology*, per se? I’m not agreeing with Hitchens’
views on the war—I’m just not sure it’s fair to
hold him up as a defender of the crude argument to
which Hedges attaches him.

It’s also strange to me that Hedges feels free to
call the conservative Christians he despises
“heretics” and practitioners of “demented forms of
Christianity.” I know he’s got a fancy HDS degree,
but who is he to make that calls? It’s not like he
believes any of the specific creeds of Christianity
himself.

Report this
tropicgirl's avatar

By tropicgirl, September 28, 2009 at 11:43 am Link to this comment

The ones I like are:

The “war on terror” (translation: kill Muslims)
The confusion of the Taliban and Al Queda (see above)
Wanting to make sure other countries like Afghanistan “stand up like a real
Democracy and protect their people” (translation: become an American puppet
while watching us kill your children)
The “Jewish” state of Israel (translation: a state that practices apartheid to all
the other nationalities and religions residing in the state of Israel)
The two-state solution (see above)
A surge (a demoralized, indiscriminate, uncontrolled killing machine)
A New World Order (Obama’s idea of quasi-world fascism)
American interests (confiscating natural resources of others)

Someone should write a neo-American dictionary. It would be full…

Report this
prole's avatar

By prole, September 28, 2009 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

“It was not accidental that the founding biblical myth saw the deliverer of knowledge as evil and the loss of innocence as a catastrophe. ‘This probably had less to do with religion than with the standard desire of those in authority to control those who are not,’” – and that the founding biblical myth was a Jewish myth, like so many myths.  Not long ago, Ze’ev Herzog, associate professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University, noted, “Following 70 years of intensive excavations in the Land of Israel, archaeologists have found out: The patriarchs’ acts are legendary, the Israelites did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, they did not conquer the land. Neither is there any mention of the empire of David and Solomon, nor of the source of belief in the God of Israel. These facts have been known for years, but Israel is a stubborn people and nobody wants to hear about it.”
  “The infantile slogans that are used to make sense of the world express, whether in tea party rallies or in Gaza street demonstrations, a very real alienation, yearning and rage” – and reflect back in many ways the infantile slogans used by powerbrokers to promote and justify the very real sources of that “alienation, yearning and rage.” “And as the economy worsens, as war in the Middle East and elsewhere continues, as our corporate state” …totters, expect this self-promoting demented language used to give it credence, to grow. “Demented forms of Christianity and Islam have largely supplanted genuine and more open forms of religious expression”…rivaled only by demented forms of Judaism and Hinduism since religion thrives on fervid fantasies, indeed couldn’t exist without them. “And they have done so because liberal elites”… were often able to put such fanaticism to work in the service of their own imperial aims. As Michael Ben-Yair, attorney general of Israel in the gov.‘s of Rabin and Peres recently boasted, “We enthusiastically chose to become a colonial society, ignoring international treaties, expropriating lands, transferring settlers from Israel to the occupied territories, engaging in theft and finding justification for all these activities.”
  “The fantasies peddled by the Christian right, from the Rapture, which is not in the Bible, to the belief that Jesus, who was a pacifist, would bless wars in the Middle East”…are more than matched by the Jewish State who couldn’t care less what Jesus thinks about the M.E. Perhaps here succinctly summed up by former Israeli president, Moshe Katsav, “There is a huge gap between us (Jews) and our enemies ¬not just in ability but in morality, culture, sanctity of life, and conscience. They are our neighbors here, but it seems as if at a distance of a few hundred meters away, there are people who do not belong to our continent, to our world, but actually belong to a different galaxy.”
  “The fantasies peddled by the”...Jewish right from Exodus (Bible version) to Exodus (Hollywood version)...“injects [their] own version of sanctified slogans into the vernacular.” If “our crisis is a crisis of language” then we get off lightly. For many, it’s a far more serious crisis of occupation and devastation. If only it were just a matter of language.

Report this
ThomasG's avatar

By ThomasG, September 28, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges whining about the condition of language existing in the masses from inside the gated walls of elite communities is meaningless.

What this thread is whining about is propaganda that they are subject to even behind the gated walls of their elite communal fortresses.  Propaganda is binary emotional rhetoric and it takes more than whining about a problem to effect a cure to the problem.

The Nobles and Nearly Noble Middle Class retreated from the 70% MAJORITY Common Population into the fortresses of their gated communities, forsaking inclusive society with the 70% MAJORITY Common Population of the United States for their own greedy self-centered class and cultural benefit at the expense of the 70% MAJORITY Common Population, rather than to live with the people they are now whining about.

The fault and the solution lies within ourselves.  Rather than to whine from behind the walls of gated communities, live as an interactive part in community with those you are whining about and society with the greater community by those you are whining about will diminish both your problems and theirs.

Otherwise, it is unseemly for those who hide from the problem in gated class and cultural enclaves to whine about problems they have intentionally shielded themselves from in separate gated communities.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, September 28, 2009 at 11:08 am Link to this comment

It all started with rock and roll, long haired hippies and bad acting by Ronald Reagan.

Report this
Virginia777's avatar

By Virginia777, September 28, 2009 at 11:04 am Link to this comment

I agree with Chris Hedges that the misuse of language, and the saturation of propaganda, is extremely dangerous for our country and needs to be addressed.

Hedges is dead-on that the manipulation of language (with the purpose of thought control) by the Nazis,

is the exact same phenomena we are witnessing today. Which spells nothing less than the advent of Fascism.

Report this
MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 28, 2009 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy,

——Language of Propaganda and Sophism——

Using all those impediments to cogent reasoning is propaganda’s binary rhetoric to use ones emotions for the destruction of cogent reasoning, that the Right-Wing EXTREME began on an organized basis in the media, in the churches, with the school system and the military from the time of Goldwater in 1969.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/politicaljunkie/2009/04/on_this_day_in_1969_barry_gold.html

By the time this book was printed in 2005, the sophist Right-Wing conservative propaganda rhetoric machine had been being carried out full fledge by the Right-Wing’s conservative EXTREMIST minions for 36 years against the American people and the people of the world.

It appears your book is a telling of much of what was actually being done to the American people and the world, who were and still are, for the most part, unaware military type sophism and propaganda has been being used against the greater majority of the population of the United States and the world since the time of Goldwater.

Report this

By Carcassonne, September 28, 2009 at 10:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you for your article/post Mr. Hedges.
Language is one of the tools in human beings’ arsenal, to achieve
power and control. Most of us have not evolved out of the need for
power and control over our fellow humans. (sorry if punctuation isn’t
perfect)
Language is the tool being used for the underlying “logic” (fellow
poster) of achieving power and control; certain words are being
deliberately interpreted differently, like “jihad” (“struggle”, according to
New Oxford American Dictionary), a clever choice since it is associated
with the prophet Muhammad, a ‘well known, influential historical
figure.’
Medieval European theologists also engaged in manipulating/distorting
meaning; for example, they changed Muhammad’s name to Mahound,
meaning devil incarnate (New Oxford..) Muhammad ‘struggled’, as did
Jesus, with inner human fallibility on his path towards ‘God’.
Muhammad was a merchant at one time (merchants became quite
wealthy), but he believed in giving to the poor (like St. Francis), which
caused conflict with the rich merchants.
The Qur’an/Koran is interpreted as the “word of God”, but literally
means “recitation”, or “read to” (New Ox..)

The day A.I. advances to the degree that computers are doing the
interpreting for us of the meaning behind our words, should prove
interesting - one can only imagine the kinds of clarifications our
delightful species will get from them…

Aside - John Mayer’s lyrics in his song, “Belief” are apropos to your
article as well.

Report this

By Old Geezer Pilot, September 28, 2009 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

During my lifetime, there have been two inventions
that have forever changed the global landscape: the
BOMB and TELEVISION.

I think that TV is the more dangerous of the two.

First, we have seen what happens when we use the bomb
and we are frightened.

But second, we are not aware of how our national dialog has been polarized and trivialized by the box,
and we use it everyday, fearlessly.

Goebbels used the radio (I know, so did FDR) because
it was a great propaganda tool. TV is even better.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, September 28, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

One can read writings even in disagreement, in most cases I find this to be true with Hdges.

Hitchens may have utilized his approach to Iraq War, as a ticket to US citizenship? I very much enjoy his rantings.

Report this
godistwaddle's avatar

By godistwaddle, September 28, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

For years I looked forward to reading Hitchens anywhere he ranted.  He does write divinely.  When he supported the Iraq war of aggression, I thought, “WTF?”  He still writes well about other stuff.

I retain the hope that Hitchens was suggesting that Iraq was a chance to get rid of a bunch of religio-tards, and, having depleted the faithful of one crazed religion, we might rein in the Christ-tards, just as mad and much closer, who afflict us with their bronze age thinking and morality.

Report this
Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 28, 2009 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, September 28 at 10:43 am #

Fat Freddy’s cat gave me laughs no end.  wink

Report this
Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 28, 2009 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

ah, now I understand…love your user name. LOL. Oh,
the memories…

Report this

By Folktruther, September 28, 2009 at 8:51 am Link to this comment

Wait, fidler.

Report this

By chuckwalla, September 28, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You are right to excoriate the debasement of language and show how it relates to mass mobilization by demagogues.  Yet you equate what is going on here in the West with what is going on in the Arab world, with which I have to take issue.  It would be so if the problem were merely demegogues on both sides stirring up hatreds (the subjective factor).  The objective reality is that the Arab world is suffering an American and Zionist occupation, so there is a legitimate moral basis for their rage.  The same cannot be said about the ultra-nationalist proto-fascist movements growing here in the USA, at least in this regard.

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 28, 2009 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

Ouroborus,

http://www.freakbrothers.co.uk/fatfreddy.html

In case you were wondering.

Report this
Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 28, 2009 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Belief usurps reason and intelligence and can never be
justified.

Report this
maxpayne's avatar

By maxpayne, September 28, 2009 at 7:41 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges makes no bones about the hardcore supporters of whatever ideology showing their bullying nature on language but it is not always true that the extremes really mean what they say especially when they have to be careful about scaring away the real center of moderates and independents.

What about the cases when they borrow of each side’s language unexpectedly? Did you ever notice that when conservative Republicans are feeling down and out or are afraid of losing power that they will pretend liberalism only to turn around and say “Syke ! Sucker ! HAHAHA !”. Likewise, liberal Democrats have been known to pretend conservative such as looking “strong” and “tough” on terrorism and shooting down the ill-trodden. Once in office, God knows which liberal Democrat will do what.

Never trust anyone by what they always say no matter weird they sound. Pay attention to what they actually do. Talk and language are cheap but not the actions which are the litmus test.

Report this
Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, September 28, 2009 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

Some believe as they believe for no other reason than belief, rhetoric does not sway belief, it only comforts it. Those who disagree are wrong

Report this
MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 28, 2009 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

montanawildhack,

The people didn’t devolve, there has been an organized political NeoConservative sophist propaganda movement for the past 40 years to brainwash the Liberal Common MAJORITY Population of the United States and the world into thinking that all politics is conservative, that the people themselves have need of nothing.

Common people are susceptible to sophism and propaganda by their government, their media,  their public school system and the military that have cooperated and still cooperate in the organized conservative political sophist propaganda movement against the greater population of the United States and the world, that has brought and continues to keep the political power in the United States and the world completely to the Right for corporate conservative-Right dominance.  Language is a part of the Conservative Republican Political Movement that began with Goldwater and is not a phenomenon, but is the result of propaganda and sophistry used by the Right-Wing EXTREMISTS AGAINST the people, as Hitler did to the German people prior to World War II.

Report this
MarthaA's avatar

By MarthaA, September 28, 2009 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

montanawildhack,

The people didn’t devolve, there has been an organized political NeoConservative sophist propaganda movement for the past 40 years to brainwash the Liberal Common MAJORITY Population of the United States and the world into thinking that all politics is conservative, that the people themselves have need of nothing.

Common people are susceptible to sophism and propaganda by their government, their media,  their public school system and the military that have cooperated and still cooperate in the organized conservative political sophist propaganda movement against the greater population of the United States and the world, that has brought and continues to keep the political power in the United States and th world completely to the Right for corporate conservative-Right dominance.  Language is a part of the Conservative Republican Political Movement that began with Goldwater and is not a phenomenon, but is the result of propaganda and sophistry used by the Right-Wing EXTREMISTS AGAINST the people, as Hitler did to the German people prior to World War II.

Report this

By Howie Bledsoe, September 28, 2009 at 6:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dude, I agree. It totally, like, sucks when these dumbed-down dipshits just talk in soundbites. It blows!
Like; get a life!

Report this
Ouroborus's avatar

By Ouroborus, September 28, 2009 at 6:36 am Link to this comment

Fat Freddy, September 28 at 8:38 am #

I hate your user name; but I’m fast realizing it’s my
own shit; nice post!

Report this
Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, September 28, 2009 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

“Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”—David Hume

Report this

By Gerry Lykins, September 28, 2009 at 6:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Others may have said these things before..differently or similarly.  Nevertheless, this statement cannot, in fact, be made often enough.  I follow Mr. Hedges’ words carefully because I sense he understands the zeitgeist.  IF it seems his passion verges on the painful..that too must be understood.  We should not avoid facing the tragedy in the air.

I only wish his words could be read or heard more often by those whose blend of arrogance and ignorance have left hollow tools of propaganda.

Whenever I comment on Mr. Hedges work…I am compelled to include thanks to him for his words and his courage.

Report this
rico, suave's avatar

By rico, suave, September 28, 2009 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

I can’t wait for Folktruther to chime in here!

Report this
Fat Freddy's avatar

By Fat Freddy, September 28, 2009 at 5:38 am Link to this comment

The War on Language

I think the title of this post could more accurately be described as The War on Logic. I saved many of my college textbooks. One of those was from Philosophy 121 - Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric by Howard Kahane. Of course, after reading this post, I had to pull it out. There is an entire chapter just on language and its emotive meanings. But, the preceding chapter, Impediments to Cogent Reasoning, more accurately describes the flavor of the current discourse taking place today.

I won’t go into any detail about what is in the book, I’ll just post the titles of the sub chapters of Chapter 4 (Impediments to Cogent Reasoning).

1. Loyalty, Provincialism, and the Herd Instinct.
2. Prejudice, Stereotypes, and Scapegoats.
3. Superstitious Beliefs.
4. Wishful Thinking and Self-Deception.
5. The Pull of Pseudoscience.

We are all guilty of indulging in one or more of these. We are all human. But, we have allowed these impediments to dominate the current political debate. And our “leaders” use these to control the way people think, react, and respond.

This is pretty basic stuff. Most people should be aware of these things. But unfortunately, we have devolved into a national “emotional wreck”.

Report this

By Jon, September 28, 2009 at 5:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As a sign of our Orwellian nature, at the G20, the Pittsburgh police used a sound cannon on the public, including on children.  It was the first time a sound cannon had been used on U.S. soil.  Our language has enabled events like this, wherein we are told that this is necessary to keep Americans safe.  By attacking Americans.  We have used language to promote ‘The Patriot Act,’ and to demean the Constitution.  Note that DHS seems to believe that those who defend the Constitution might be terrorists.  So out comes the sound cannon at the G20.  There is no doubt that our news speak and double speak world has affected what we think about each other, and what we consider appropriate use of force on our streets and neighborhoods.

Report this

By jhm, September 28, 2009 at 5:08 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

uranWith apologies for an impertinence, I’m curious to know
how much textural analysis has been done with the Qur’an?  It
was my understanding that many deem even the suggestion of
such an enterprise highly offensive.  How old are the earliest
extant manuscripts?

Report this

By montanawildhack, September 28, 2009 at 2:57 am Link to this comment

What Mr. Hedges is trying to say in this article George Orwell said way more better in “1984”.  In fact, America is quickly morphing into the kind of bleak, totalitarian nightmare Orwell tried to warn us about..  I predict it will take only one more terrorist/freedom fighter attack to pretty much seal the deal…. 
Where the hell did I put that goddamn Victory Gin????  It’s doubleplus good…. Have a nice day..

Report this

Page 7 of 7 pages « First  <  5 6 7

Newsletter

sign up to get updates


 
 
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Publisher, Zuade Kaufman   Editor, Robert Scheer
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.

Like Truthdig on Facebook