Archive for August, 2005

Griefshield: Spin’s New Body Armor

Monday, August 29th, 2005

The Cindy Sheehan Follies in the Mainstream Media News Ditch outside of President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, TX, provides the Spinspeak Fighters Legion with codification of a new technical Spin Class falling under the Phyla Lookspin and Soundspin.

The new Spin Class is griefshield.

Griefshield is obtained by finding legitimate victims of tragedy and exploiting them as human shields for political or commercial purposes or both. Spinmeisters find griefshield particularly effective in bullet-proofing for retreading and reuse previously discredited spinspeak.

This special feature of griefshield — the giving of new life to old spin — is, of course, a major economic boon to the Spinspeak Industtry.

Spinning Real Gold from Alleged “Bad” Facts

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2005
 
In legalspeak, bad facts are hard facts introduced to befuddle a jury: “Bad” facts by definition are indeed facts but they are beside the point. They sound important but they are irrelevant to the guilt or innocence that the jury is sworn to determine.

How big a problem can “bad” facts cause?

Ask Merck, the giant drug company that produced Vioxx. According to a number of legal experts, the use of alleged “bad” facts by the lawyer for the plaintiff caused a Texas jury to award a quarter billion – that is billion — dollars in damages.

Anniversary Statement: Rationality vs. the Spin Doc Industry

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005
As the Spinspeak Letter approaches its 28-moth anniversary – a near-eon on the Internet –it is appropriate to provide an assessment of the continuing deliberate corruption of the English language by spin.
Unfortunately, the news is not good.

Using all means of communication, an amoral Spindoc Industry is spreading an intellectual bubonic plague that erodes credibility throughout American society. Furthermore, this increasing corruption of language with spin eventually opens to question all statements of fact. This on-going process is worsening from decade to decade.

Scientific Method that created the great technological triumphs of Western Civilization is being undercut by slick spindocs who redescribe the world every morning with repeatedly redefined words and phrases. Nothing is black, white red or blue. Instead, the world looks like a particularly bad paint-spatter show at the Museum of Modern Art. The most obvious truth is sullied.

My new novel, Ultimate Severance, is an attempt to depict with appropriate satire what the world becomes when it is awash in spinspeak and everyone makes everything up as he goes along. Any piece of baloney – 100 proof flim-flam — is OK because now you say it is really filet mignon; or , vice versa: pour Elixir de Snake Oil on genuine filet mignon and you convince everyone it’s baloney or old chicken. Either way, humbuggery is clearly on the march.

Spin—deliberate language corruption –is everywhere: a surly illiterate who can barely answer a phone is magically transmogrified by calling her a “customer relations specialist”; a school system. failing because pupils don’t learn anything, becomes “much improved” by “equalizing” test standards; certified C-student presidential candidates become “intellectual giants” and “total morons.”

Or, on the other hand, we have the common Washington political gambit for derailing a solid nomination by saying that you have “questions” about the nominee. After enough people say that, the same people begin saying the nominee is “damaged goods.” And after awhile if the nominee hasn’t gone home, the same people say “we can do better in a bi-partisan way.”

Bubonic plague used to race through a community leaving most of the residents dead. The spinspeak virus – an intellectual bubonic plague — races through our society eroding credibility with effects more like a neutron bomb: the residents are left alive but brain dead.

“Unfortunately, spin is so potent that its hooked users hunger continually for more and stronger spin and bemuse themselves with the typical addict’s delusion that it won’t destroy their minds along with those of their victims. Moreover, a multi-billion dollar amoral Spindoc Industry has grown up to support the commercial demand and feed it. And much of the media, society’s so-called watchdogs, are already traumatized by spinspeak and spread it rather than expose it.

To fight this plague and preserve rational thought, we urgently need a national awakening to the problem. The solution, as often is the case when fighting forces of darkness, is intense sunlight .

Three spin-detection tools essential for providing that sunlight are:

• Vet all neo-meanings given to words and phrases in the context of the user’s special interests.

• Vet all neo-labels, titles and nouns and noun phrases in apposition for factual content (if any).

• Flag for vetting all neo-usages of words and phrases.

Facts, exposure, ridicule are the weapons of choice. Particularly ridicule. The devil hates to be laughed at.

That’s No War, Bunky, It’s Only a Struggle

Sunday, August 7th, 2005

 President Bush wins the Spin Detector Award of the Month for his insistence that the War on Terror be called just that instead of some namby-pamby bit of spinspeak.

Apparently, in an attempt to befuddle the Blame America First appeasement camp, the Pentagon had begun referring to the shooting war as the “Struggle against Extreme Terrorism.”

The overt explanation: Only the combination of military, economics and diplomacy can win. Ergo, it’s a “struggle,” not a “war.” And, if you hate the military as so many liberal leftists do, struggle (as in “I struggle to get quality time with little Amanda.”) has a nice politically correct ring.

Unfortunately, as the President pointed out, the terrorists keep on trying to kill us. That used to be called a “war.” And “W” says that is still what you call it.

Of course, the Pentagon could have fallen back on German Gen. Clausewitz’ famous definition of war as “merely the continuation of policy by other means.”

The next time the Muslim terrorists blow up some women and children or cut off some “Crusader’s” head, how would this grab you for a rousing battle cry:

“ENLIST NOW FOR THE CONTINUATION OF POLICY BY OTHER MEANS AGAINST EXTREME TERRORISM!”