Friday, March 25, 2011

Mangled Wordsmithing

Mark Twain once said that the right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. The correct word, or turn of phrase, can remake the world, or at least the way we look at it. The pen has power, the words made by the pen have power. The Gospel writer John even states that “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Pretty strong stuff. So what to make of the words unleashed by the White House on an unsuspecting public at the March 24, 2011 presser?

Kinetic Military Action, are you serious Mr. Rhodes?  As opposed to what, Inertial Civilian Rest? Sweet Baby Jesus on a Pogo Stick, these people can not be serious.

Since we are dealing with words, lets consult our Word Book (only $4.99 at the Mac App Store) “kinetic: adjective, relating to the motion of material bodies and the forces associated therewith.” “from Greek kinetikos "moving, putting in motion," from kinetos "moved," verbal adj. of kinein "to move."

How “blowing shit up” became “kinetic military action” is a mystery best left to the PR flack that went there. Granted the possibilities are endless. The Lusitania was not sunk by a German sub, it was provided  a submersive water experience. China did not suffer “The Rape Of Nanjing” it underwent a rapid urban clearing and renewal program. Pearl Harbor did not suffer a sneak attack, that was unannounced aggressive diplomatic messaging.

Again, are these hacks at the White House Serious? Who do they think they are fooling?  Is all this obvious blather and muddle supposed to cover up the fact that we are now in our third war of choice in a decade? Is it supposed to cover up the open ended commitment that we just wrote ourselves in Libya? Are these words supposed to paper over the internecine struggles between supposed allies in NATO?

Right, nothing to see here, nothing at all. Please pay no attention to the man behind curtain furiously pulling ropes and leavers. Pretend you don’t notice that he appears to have managed to wrap himself in some of the ropes and just might have his foot stuck in a mop bucket. No cognitive dissonance with Barack Obama to be seen good citizen, everything is just peachy.

Or maybe, just maybe, this bit of truly hideous messaging reflects a deeper issue. Maybe it is reflective of an Administration that is slowly realizing it made a huge error getting itself involved in a civil war in the Maghreb. That would explain the “ war, what war?” messaging. That would explain the Administration trying to pass this conflict off as some very weird, and very brutal physics experiment by the NATO military.

What really sticks in your faithful reporters craw though is how sterile the wordsmithing was. Kinetic energy, by the definition offered, happens to things; to inanimate objects. Military strikes, on the other hand, harm real living people. Sometimes it turns those real living people into real dead people.

This new and hateful term is the ugly bastard step-child of “collateral damage.” It is a foul and obvious euphemism. It is an attempt to hide the harsh and cruel realities of what we are doing. It is an attempt to shove the square peg of civilian casualties into round peg of humanitarian concern for the Libyans. It is an attempt to cover up the fact that the theoretical humanitarian crisis this incursion was supposed to prevent has created a real humanitarian disaster on the ground.

Team Obama is no longer offering up “word salad” dear reader. No, they are tossing out that iceberg lettuce, carrots, arugula, peppers, radishes, and tomatoes whole; and by the crate-full. Then they are setting up a purpose-built fire hose and pump contraption to spray out the dressing. It is an ugly, epic mess in the Press Room, with nary a plate or fork in sight.

This term, this “Kinetic Military Action” needs to be taken out the back of the White House and put down like the mangy yellow dog it is. It is a mangled mutant thing, reflective of a mangled and mutant thinking process. It has all the respectability of an eighty year old child molester.

One of the things that made Obama what he is today is his facility with words. No politician of the last two generations can mach the man in giving a prepared speech. Given the time, Obama can craft rare gems of the verbal arts. But that Midas touch has turned into pure shit of late. Unprepared and unready, forced to think on the fly, Obama becomes a mere mortal and a flawed one at that. Mr Rhodes may have been the poor sap chosen to speak that horrible line, but Obama is the real father of the term. The mangled language is a reflection of his sloppy and ill conceived workmanship. It  shares this trait with his sloppy and ill conceived intervention in Libya. Mangled Worsmithing is a reflection of Mangled thinking that brought about this mangled foreign policy. Fear for the Republic gentle reader; we have at least two more years of this sort of stuff.
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