New Examples of Newspeak

I ran across a nice site/pdf that provides relatively new examples of what Orwell’s 1984 presented as “Newspeak”:

The Link Count down seven items from the top to find the site/pdf.

Before presenting the examples, however, the author provides a longer quotation from a NASA spokesperson:

“The normal process during the countdown is that the countdown proceeds, assuming we are in a go posture, and at various points during the countdown we tag up on the operational loops and face to face in the firing room to ascertain the facts that project elements that are monitoring the data and that are understanding the situation as we proceed are still in the go condition.” (Quoted in Lutz 1989, 223)

I’m certainly not opposed to characterizing such speech/writing as “Newspeak,” and the one using the language may have wanted to mislead his or her audience, but I think the chief problem here is with jargon–a kind of inside-the-bubble way of communicating that actually is effective inside the bubble but sounds silly outside it. There’s an excellent chance the speaker was attempting to sound “official” but also genuinely trying to get across information and not deceive.

How great is that phrase, “go posture”? Thank you, bureaucracy!

Here, however, are the main examples (with “translations”) from the site:

Modern Examples of Newspeak/Doublespeak

“rendition” transfer of suspected terrorists to foreign countries that practice torture for interrogation

“Healthy Forests” program logging of protected wilderness areas

“Clear Skies” initiative removing the restrictions on businesses which pollute the air

“abuses” at Abu Gharib torture

“death tax” estate tax

“insurgent” applied, in place of “freedom fighter” to those indigenous forces fighting against us

“freedom fighter” right-wing militia member trying to overthrow elected communist/socialist regime

“defense” war

“IED” bomb

“downsize” fire employees

“embedded” journalists controlled/censored journalists

“enemy combatant” P.O.W./captive

“forced disarmament” war

“human intelligence” spy

“infomercial” commercial

“House of Windsor” House of Saxe-Coburg

“person of interest” suspect

“regime change” overthrow

“pre-owned” used

“shock and awe” massive bombing

“taxpayer” citizen (implies that primary purpose of a citizen is to pay taxes)

“wet work” assassination

“terminate; neutralize” kill

“revenue enhancement” tax increase

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One Response to “New Examples of Newspeak”

  1. Rudolph Says:

    collateral damage = killing civilians

    pre-emptive strike=starting a war


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