Monday, October 16, 2017

Politics and the English Language

FLG was reading this interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates and the final quotation stuck out:
 When he tries to describe the events that would erase America's wealth gap, that would see the end of white supremacy, his thoughts flicker to the French Revolution, to the executions and the terror. "It's very easy for me to see myself being contemporary with processes that might make for an equal world, more equality, and maybe the complete abolition of race as a construct, and being horrified by the process, maybe even attacking the process. I think these things don't tend to happen peacefully."
For Coates, even hope can be covered in blood.

It immediately reminded FLG of this quotation from Politics and the English Language:
While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement. 

And then Orwell's thoughts on that passage:
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.

While FLG senses some insincerity, as if he is afraid to state plainly precisely what he means, to be fair, Coates isn't trying to hide behind much of a euphemism.  Although, it is Ezra Klein who uses the word 'blood,' whereas as Coates calls it a 'process' with which he can see himself being 'contemporary.' 


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