Tuesday Morning News Dump | Main | Obama Raises Minimum Wage Paid Under Federal Contracts By Executive Order
January 28, 2014

In the beginning was the Word

[bumped by BenK: This is worth a read for those who missed it last night]

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1

This is what I have to say about the SOTU, and every other content-free political speech and op-end we're going to have inflicted on us from here on out:

There is a price to be paid for divorcing actions and concepts from the words that describe them. Government, and the law that undergirds it, is made up of words. Devalue the words, strip them of meaning, and you do the same thing to the concepts those words describe. Action follows Thought, and for Thought to exist there must be the Word.

This was George Orwell's central insight when he invented Newspeak for his novel 1984. Language doesn't just describe what we think about, and allow us to communicate with each other; in a major way, it actually determines what we think about, and how we think. We conceptualize the way we do, even in the abstract, using constructs of language - even mathematics and computer code is a kind of language. Orwell understood that the Word could actually be turned into a weapon, an invisible knife to cut away a man's ability to think (and thus, to act). All you have to do is convince a man that the Word he's hearing means something other than what he thought it meant...or can mean anything, really. Or nothing at all. Science, history, literature, even music -- they evaporate like a puddle in the hot sun because the Words used to build them stop conveying meaning.

Words have meaning. They must have meaning, for if we are to communicate at all we must transmit meaning from one person to another. This is perhaps the most unforgivable part of the postmodernist assault on the language itself: it has weakened our ability to even describe the loss of meaning.

If a Word can mean anything, it means nothing. Think of that while his Majesty the King speaks tomorrow night.


digg this
posted by Monty at 11:37 AM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
Bozo Conservative....outlaw in America: " Trump doesn't do little children, drink, or plot ..."

t-bird: "[i]We'll know he's serious when he tosses PR and t ..."

garrett: ">>What did I do? You killed that poor Hampste ..."

Miklos, in a planning phase: "Miklos, MoMe are prescreened. Only the best of Mor ..."

shelly winters: "Overstock CEO says he's gonna lay low Who's Lo ..."

FireHorse: "My theory is that Taylor Swift is doing all of Tru ..."

Diogenes: "Diogenes, Did you get Janice's work schedule?? ..."

mog smash: "Holy shit. What did I do? ..."

Hillary!: "[i]Trump doesn't do little children, drink, or plo ..."

mog smash: " ..."

garrett: ">>Comedy. Gold. There's a Steelhead guide ove ..."

Ben Had: "Miklos, MoMe are prescreened. Only the best of M ..."

Recent Entries
Search


Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64