Shrink­ing dic­tionary and sub­ju­ga­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

RE: Re­vis­it­ing Or­well’s “1984” (Jan. 30)

Per­haps Or­well’s keen­est in­sight in 1984, it seems prophecy now, was the in­sti­tu­tion of “Newspeak,” the con­tin­ual process of shrink­ing the dic­tionary. The re­moval of words from the lan­guage also purged the con­cepts, ideas and thought pro­cesses con­nected with those words from public con­scious­ness in or­der to make those sub­ju­gated by the Party eas­ier to man­age.

In 2017, in­stead of ar­tic­u­late, co­her­ent, rea­soned po­lit­i­cal dis­course — “a writ­ten, well-con­sid­ered pol­icy state­ment on the way for­ward, or a piece of leg­is­la­tion” — with which the public, press and other politi­cians can en­gage, we are tweeted pro­nounce­ments of 140 char­ac­ters or less which prove dif­fi­cult to ar­gue against be­cause they of­ten lack sub­stance, logic, con­text, even truth.

As the per­fect ve­hi­cle for “al­ter­na­tive facts,” they’re well suited to mak­ing Amer­ica “dou­ble plus good” again. Re­cent an­nounce­ments from the camps of Leitch and O’Leary sug­gest that this strat­egy has mi­grated to Canada as well. Mark Di­neen, Hamil­ton

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