Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Orwell uber alles

Ugly Truths About Guantanamo (washingtonpost.com)
Orwell, however, was off by only 20 years. With immense satisfaction, he would have noted the constant abuse of language by the Bush administration -- calling suicidal terrorists "cowards," naming a constriction of civil liberties the Patriot Act and, of course, wringing all meaning from the word "torture." Until just recently when the interpretation of torture was amended, it applied only to the pain like that of "organ failure, impairment of body function, or even death." Anything less, such as, say, shackling detainees to a low chair for hours and hours so that one prisoner pulled out tufts of hair, is something else. We have no word for it, but it is -- or was until recently -- considered perfectly legal.

The current Orwell Awards focus on "freedom of the press". A noble cause, but not the root of Orwell's concerns. He would perhaps be more concerned about the "corruption of the press", a phenomena now well established in America.

We need a different group than journalists to present a new set of Orwell awards for 2005. I suggest High School english teachers, and I nominate George Bush as the premiere winner.

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