Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Friday, 28 October 2011

Celebrating the flexibility of language

A handy Newspeak decoder.

UNACCEPTABLE Entity the government dislikes but for unspoken reasons (eg, the presence of oil, uncommitted voters, muslim bad feeling) refuses to condemn. The larger the entity, the more risible the adjective. As with: The behaviour of the serial killer who murdered half of Camden Town is clearly unacceptable.

UNCOMPETITIVENESS Result of imposing any form of restriction on the banks. Mass unemployment is felt to be a small price to pay for avoiding this.

REPATRIATION Historically the act of returning people to their homeland. Now used to include human remains and various vague abstractions thought to have been stolen from Britain by the European Union.

NATIONAL TREASURE Elderly celebrity (usually male and with a full head of hair) who has avoided controversy for ten years and is just this side of twenty-four-hour care.

GROWTH Any measurement of the national economy that doesn’t show decline.

OPENLY GAY Gay. Since secretly gay is a sexual preference that cannot be referred to.

DEBT Sum of money that is owing. Sovereign debt: similar but larger.

FEMINISM Much diminished campaign to achieve women’s rights. Now applied by rightwing press to any complaint by any woman about anything.

FUNDAMENTALIST Informal singing group subscribing to the values expressed in a small number of carefully selected Old Testament texts.

WIND FARM Ironically labelled collection of large propellors from which very little is harvested. The system is switched off when wind conditions become ideal.

COLLECTIVE BARGAINING Ritualistic event whereby trades union officials receive from an employer a list of members being made redundant.

HOORAY! HOORAY! Granddaughter Ysabelle, now a degree holder, has a job. Modest title, modest pay. But a job.

Picture. BB now rises at 6.30 am to pursue writing career. View from his window.


The Crow said...

Thanks for the decoded lexicon, BB. Great start to my day.

Congratulations to Ysabelle on her new job. Best wishes for an onward and upward career!

Beautiful sunrise, too. Ours, here in south-central Pennsylvania, is obscured by clouds this morning, which makes me all the more appreciative of yours.

Lucy said...

Oh I do like these! 'Growth' might also be what is to be found in a National Treasure's ears or nose.

Congratulations to Ysabelle on the job. Though frankly anyone who doesn't employ someone called Ysabelle-with-a-Y is clearly lacking in vision and discernment.

Relucent Reader said...

Great sky. Heard it referred to before as a mackerel sky. It is a gray cool day here in the Yellow Tavern quadrant.
Thank you for the informative and entertaining explication of Newspeak.
Congratulations to Ysabelle.Her foot is in the door now...modest can always be improved by elbow grease.

Sir Hugh said...

The code that amuses me is when a minister becomes involved in scandal, and the prime minister says that the miscreant "has his fullest confidence" - it is almost without exception the signal for the minister's departure.

Hattie said...

Maybe it's the change of season, but you are on a roll! These are so funny, and oh so true.

Julia said...

Good job I wasn't drinking tea when I read your decoder; I might have ruined my keyboard, laughing.

Hurray for Ysabelle!

marja-leena said...

Fantastic - thanks for the laughs and truths. And congrats to Ysabelle - that is something to be very happy for these days.

Barrett Bonden said...

All: I had thought this list was possibly too parochial, too Little England, to be of much interest overseas. I am happy (Newspeak = depressed) to see we all share the same burdens.

The Crow: If I'd had space I would have defined lexicon too.

Lucy: A new idea emerges. Defining combinations (as in Unacceptable Wind Farms).

RR: Elbow grease - a degree of application expected of others, never of oneself.

Sir Hugh: Liam Fox deserves his own special Newspeak Crown. All those passive verb forms (eg, Mistakes were made) Paul Merton provided the perfect real-life analogy of a ministerial apology: Thief (caught red-handed, hand in till): Ah, yes money was taken. I shall make sure I don't allow that to happen again.

Hattie: In a sense the season never changes.

Julia: Followed, I hope, by bitter reflection.

M-L: Surely this kind of stuff never happens in Canada

marja-leena said...

Sadly, it's getting bad here too. I'm afraid the pond is getting smaller and more crowded.

Rouchswalwe said...

Prost to Ysabelle! I shall drink a Double Bock in her honour!

Nice view from the window indeed. And I'm happy to report that I was laughing all the way over here at your lexicon, BB!