|"PLANT TREES" (BUT NOT TODAY)|
Today is National Arbor Day, the day most states celebrate trees, and school children plant them. For rather obvious reasons, Bayfield usualy celebrates Arbor Day somewhat later, and for the past decade it has been part of our Bayfield in Boom kickoff, which this year will be on May 17th.
Chuck Hagel, the Administration's Secretary of Defense, said yesterday that Syria had used chemical weapons on its own people. Or perhaps did. Or probably did. Or could have. Or whatever. But what he didn't say, in simple, understandable language, is that he didn't know for sure. He used language that was so incomprehensible that he could later clain that it said whatever he wanted it to say. This is purposely using language to confuse and ultimately to conquer. George Orwell's "1984" Big Brother would have approved. He called such talk "Newspeak." We can call Hagel's language "Obamaspeak," since it is about on par for the Administration's communication.
Here is what I heard him say on TV regarding Syria's use of chemical weapons, which was supposedly a "red line" the President would not allow it to cross; "...we can assess, with some degree of varying assurances, that chemical weapons were used. " I defy anyone to tell me exactly what this means, except that it is perfect language for covering one's posterior no matter what happens.
When I was a sophomore in college and taking an English composition course, the professor handed back an assignment I had written with the comment, "Never, never write like a lawyer!" it was good advice as far as clarity of communication was concerned, but my backside has been exposed numerous times since then because of my propensity to write and speak in simple declarative sentences. I have also had to give up any aspirations of working in Washington.