Stringfellow on Doublespeak

Erudite criticism from William Stringfellow in An Ethic for Christians and Other Aliens in a Strange Land:

The preemption of truth with prefabricated, fictionalized versions of facts and events and the usurpation of truth by propaganda and official lies are stratagems of the demonic powers much facilitated by other language contortions or abuses that the principalities and authorities foster. These include heavy euphemism and coded phrases, the inversion of definitions, jargon, hyperbole, misnomer, slogan, argot, shibboleth, cliché. The powers enthrall, delude, and enslave human beings by stopping comprehension with doublespeak as Orwell named it…

Doublespeak has been solemnly pronounced to deceive citizens, not to mention the Congress, about every escalation, every corruption, every wasted appropriation, every casualty report, every abdication of command responsibility and every insubordination, every atrocity of the war. For example, the cliché “winding down the war” has concealed the most deadly acceleration of firepower and destructive capability in the entire history of warfare on this planet…

Sometimes doublespeak is overtalk, in which the media themselves so accentuate volume, speed, and redundance that communication is incapacitated (even where the data transmitted may not be false or deceptive). The auditor’s mind is so insulated, inundated, or transfixed by verbal and visual technology that it is crippled or immobilized.

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