The Dim-Post

February 26, 2009

Obama and the English Language

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:05 am

We will act with the full force of the federal government to ensure that the major banks that Americans depend on have enough confidence and enough money to lend even in more difficult times. And when we learn that a major bank has serious problems, we will hold accountable those responsible, force the necessary adjustments, provide the support to clean up their balance sheets, and assure the continuity of a strong, viable institution that can serve our people and our economy.

Barack Obama, Speech to Congress. Wednesday 26th February 2009

The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink. In our age there is no such thing as “keeping out of politics.” All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer.

George Orwell, Politic and the English Language


  1. He doesn’t really know what cleaning up balance sheets entails, does he?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — February 26, 2009 @ 1:03 pm

  2. He doesn’t really know what cleaning up balance sheets entails, does he?

    He does, and he knows exactly what he’s going to do – nationalise the banks after the next market crash. He just doesn’t want to tell anyone until after he’s done it.

    Comment by danylmc — February 26, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

  3. Just a minute — just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You’re right when you say my father was no business man. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anybody else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was…Why, in the twenty-five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter. And what’s wrong with that? Why…Here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You…you said…What’d you say just a minute ago?…They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait! Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken-down that they…Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about…they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!

    Comment by Neil — February 26, 2009 @ 1:42 pm

  4. What does one expect from someone who has led a life of privilege–think 4 Ivy League degrees in the Obama family, and has never held a real job. Same too with Joe Foot-In-Mouth” Biden.

    Everyone says The Anointed One gives a “good speech.” Those who are truly astute know that since he was in the 1st grade in Kenya, The Anointed One excelled in “READING.” Take away his “TELEPROMPTERS”, and the “feet-of-clay” become all too apparent.

    To those who fear The Anointed One, not to worry. He will succumb to that fatal malady known as “CARPAL TUNNEL NECKUS SYNDROME” which will eventually cause his demise. CTNS, as it is becoming known, afflicts people who over-use teleprompters, just as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome affects typists and keyboarders. The faster and more adept one is at typing, the greater the degree of affliction. Similarly, the better one is at reading a ‘Teleprompterized” speech, the greater the danger of “CARPAL NECKUS.” Fans at tennis matches suffer from the same affliction. But to a lesser extent because the tennis ball only travels at about 145mph. The Anointed One’s head swivel speed, as he turns right to left…left to right,
    etc., has been estimated, by NASA scientists, as being on a par with the speed of a re-entry orbit. But the Secret Service has already issued a memo to this effect and is practicing to ensure speedy coverage for that day when The Anointed One’s head will fly off into the crowd with speeds in the 2000mph range and plow through hundreds of spectators. We can only hope that the fateful day will occur during a State of The Union speech.

    Comment by llabesab — February 26, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

  5. Compared to the vapid waffle most politicians come up with, it’s not a bad speech. It’s definitely not the ‘inflated style’ that Orwell was complaining about.

    Comment by helenalex — February 27, 2009 @ 5:04 pm

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