The Writer's Life: Film & Book Reviews, Observations, and Stories
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The Inversion of Language

An interesting phenomena which emerged from the Rove era is what I call the inversion of language. Of course, it’s been with us since the dawn of civilization, but the Rovian mind has added a couple of new twists. Let’s take the word “fascism,” for example. In the minds of some, this now means anyone who espouses not attacking one of our declared enemies. That is, it has become synonymous with appeasement. This is a very neat trick, which all lovers of language should appreciate. If you take one thing (fascism) and make it mean another (appeasement), the original meaning of the word is muddied and eventually lost. I don’t think Merriam-Webster will add this new definition to their dictionary just yet, do you? (If they do, of course, we’re in big trouble.)

Are we sliding toward fascism? Yes, say those on the left, and they point out the terrible parallels with historically fascist regimes (totalitarian leadership, stolen elections, control of the press, propaganda being dispensed by the government, uncontrolled storm troopers, etc.). Yes, say those on the right, and they point out how liberal lunatics can’t see the danger presented by fanatics and terrorists who are out to destroy us.

It’s a dangerous game to play–not just with language, but with political reality. The question, the deep and abiding question for all of us, is whether this schism is temporary or permanent.