To The Editor:
Want to understand politics? Much of it relates to linguistics. Not so much what they say, but how they say it, and why they say it.
Words have meanings. Sometimes politicians play fast and loose with words — either to explain or to mislead. So now I understand that the White House, IRS, NSA, HHS, EPA, the Fed, and over half of Congress no longer speak just English, but also another language — both for domestic work and international diplomacy.
You may now relax; they are just speaking in the farce language. This language was derived from the theatrical industry. Actually, farce was the first universal political language.
The earliest recorded use of farce was spoken by its originator, about 4000 B.C., and is found in the statement, “Eat this pretty apple; you surely shall not die.” Later, using farce, an Israeli king piously directed a group of wise men, “When you have found the baby, report to me, that I may come and worship him also.” (A dubious after-Christmas blessing.)
Farce is particularly authoritative when spoken by those using their native tongue. (The language is sometimes used by citizens and lower levels of government today as well.) Contemporary uses of the farce language include:
• “We have peace for our time.”
• “Trust your children to your government.”
• “Let me be clear.”
• “The Federal Reserve is not printing money.”
• “Your new health insurance will be affordable and better.”
• “I am tolerant (except for opinions of others).”
• “No one told me.”
• “Killing your baby is a woman’s choice.”
• “Some of my friends are just too big to fail.”
• “It is someone else’s fault.”
• “We do not abuse your personal information.”
• “We do not control your use of water.”
• “He did not really mean what he said.”
• “I will faithfully execute the office ... and defend the Constitution.”
• “So what does it matter? They’re already dead!”
News commentaries make more sense to me now that I understand their language. I feel so much better. But I would rather they speak the truth.