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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 9/26/18

Hog Waste Lagoons

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Message Craig K. Comstock
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Why does the media adopt obviously prejudicial right-wing languaging? For example, "hog waste lagoons" in the coverage of hurricane? A lagoon is something you hope to stay near on a vacation. If you don't want to say "pools of hog sh*t," at least you can say "pools of hog feces and urine."

Another piece of Orwellian language, used by Senator Ted Cruz in a recent debate with his opponent, is "death tax." We used to call this what it is, a tax on inheritance. What's taxed is not the death, but the passing on of a fortune. We all pay taxes. We want to reduce any waste, but As Justice Holmes said, fair taxes are the price of civilization.

I'm surprised the pollution of rivers is not yet called "water enhancement," as he household water of Flint was enhanced by factories dumping lead and other toxic chemicals.

In contrast, some honest scientific metaphors give the wrong impression. For example, "greenhouse gases-- a term introduced in good faith because carbon dioxide and methane let through a down-flow of sunshine but block the up-flow of radiation or heat. In effect, the concentration of these gases act like a blanket, one blanket too many, a blanket that can't be thrown off. But the term is also misleading. Greenhouses are good: they give us early tomatoes and other vegetables.

Some euphemistic terms are concocted by industries trying to protect their profits; others by scientists trying to explain a complex, invisible effect. The scientists are simply naà ve about languaging, but mean no harm. Corporate spokesmen are trying to pass off what economists call an "externality." In other words, a cost imposed silently on the public, such as in parts of North Carolina awash in flood water contaminated by hog operations, by those "lagoons."

Bright college grads are recruited to think up these phrases, paid a good salary; they live in the suburbs, mow their lawns, send their kids to college.

This Orwellian language is pervasive in our society:

"Collateral damage" for killed and wounded civilians.

"Targeted killings" for Presidentially-ordered assassinations abroad.

"Black sites" for foreign hell-holes.

"Enhanced interrogation techniques" for torture.

"The Indispensible Country" for the U.S. and whatever it does.

"Asymmetrical conflict" for wars with people who don't fight the way we do.

"Police action" for war conducted by us.

"Economical with the truth" for lying.

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Craig K. Comstock Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Author of three recent books, Better Ways to Live: Honoring Social Inventors, Exploring New Challenges (2017); Enlarging Our Comfort Zones: A Life of Unexpected Destinations (2016); and Gift of Darkness:Growing Up[ in Occupied Amsterdam (more...)

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