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Saturday, August 30, 2008

3 Wood: Teetering on the Edge


Aerosmith - Livin' On The Edge

Madrid, Spain, 1994


American banks continue to teeter on the edge of failure ~


It's a Wonderful Life - A Run on the Bank

Integrity Bank of Alpharetta, Georgia, was closed by U.S. regulators today, the 10th bank to collapse this year amid a surge in soured real-estate loans stemming from the worst housing slump since the Great Depression. Integrity Bank, with $1.1 billion in assets and $974 million in deposits, was shuttered by the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Regions Financial Corp., Alabama's biggest bank, will assume all deposits from Integrity, which was run by Integrity Bancshares Inc. The failed bank's five offices will open on Sept. 2 as branches of Regions, the FDIC said.

I am totally not surprised at this, and I also predict that you will see some additional bank failures before this is all done, plus maybe another large brokerage house may have to be supported as well. Here's why.

It all boils down to how long it takes to identify that a loan has gone bad. In most cases, a loan goes on what is called the "Non-Performing List" only after it is more than 90 days delinquent in making interest payments. That means you could make your August interest payment, then walk away from the loan and it would not go on the list until about December 1st. That is why there is such a slow motion effect to this shake out in the banking arena. And some banks have been known to make second loans to problem borrowers, for the express purpose of making interest payments on the first loan, to keep the first loan off the list for a while and buy some time. It takes a while for internal controls to spot situations like that in most banks.

Between now and December we should learn a whole lot more about what loans are good and which ones are bad. But expect to hear more bad news between now and then.
~ 3 WOOD


Iggy Pop - Livin' on the Edge of the Night

WFRL: Brother Smith Open Thread


Brother Smith ~ 1984


"Do you begin to see, then, what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment, a world of trampling and being trampled upon, a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain."
"Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty and then we shall fill you with ourselves."
"We are not content with negative obedience, nor even with the most abject submission. When finally you surrender to us, it must be of your own free will. We do not destroy the heretic because he resists us; so long as he resists us we never destroy him. We convert him, we capture his inner mind, we reshape him. We burn all evil and all illusion out of him; we bring him over to our side, not in appearance, but genuinely, heart and soul. We make him one of ourselves before we kill him. It is intolerable to us that an erroneous thought should exist anywhere in the world, however secret and powerless it may be. Even in the instance of death we cannot permit any deviation . . . we make the brain perfect before we blow it out."
"The ideal set up by the Party was something huge, terrible, and glittering—a world of steel and concrete, of monstrous machines and terrifying weapons—a nation of warriors and fanatics, marching forward in perfect unity, all thinking the same thoughts and shouting the same slogans, perpetually working, fighting, triumphing, persecuting—three hundred million people all with the same face."
"He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother."

~ George Orwell 1984

Missing Links: Days of Deadly Diversions


Bernhard Heiden's "Diversion" (1943)
Performed by "altosaxbwayboy16"

In those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.
~ Joel 3:1-2



Al Sadr & Nasrallah are cousins. As Nasrallah amps up, Sadr appears to stand down Both "militant armies" take orders from Iran. Hudna hudna hudna KABOOM.

U.S. military sources say many senior al-Mahdi Army leaders have since fled Iraq for Iran to join Sadr and are expected to return to Iraq after the reorganization is complete



Hezbollah finds left-leaning friends abroad

Conniving with Hezbollah

Hezbollah warns Israel against attack

A retired US professor has denied passing sensitive weapons secrets to two graduate students from Iran and China

Iran, Nigeria to share "peaceful" nuclear technology

Venezuela cozies up to Iran, Hizballah

Pyongyang As Usual

A delegation from a Russian nuclear power construction company Atomstroyexport will discuss the completion of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran on 9/1, a company spokesman said on Friday.

U.S. troops detained Ali al-Lami, general manager of a committee established in 2003 and 2004 by Paul Bremer to remove members of Saddam's Baath party from the government

Rice: Iraq troop deal is close

Russia to spend almost half of its budget on new arms race

Rice: Russia's Recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia: Regrettable, Extremely Unfotunate

Georgia Severs Diplomatic ties with Russia

Russia to sign accord for miitary bases in S Ossetia

CAIR Asks Studio to Change 'Towelhead' Film Title

Warner Bros. Remains Firm on Towelhead

6.1 in China today

Senior Palestinian officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to disclose the information "on-record" have confirmed to The Media Line that Israel has asked the Palestinians to agree to an Israeli annexation of 7.3% of the West Bank; while the Palestinians would receive 5.5% from land located between Gaza and Hebron in addition to an another 2% for use as a safe passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Rice: Israelis didn't want peace, GWB changed their minds

Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah with her host Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Rice said:

"I would just like to remind everyone that this time last year, we, of course, didn't have a peace process. And perhaps it's well to go back to when President [George W.] Bush came to office in 2001, in the midst of the breakdown completely of the peace process with the second intifada underway, with the election of Prime Minister Sharon who explicitly did not come to power intending to be a part of the peace process."

Having laid equal blame on both the Israelis and the Palestinians for the breakdown of the peace process, Rice proceeded to hold up President Bush as the force that brought both sides back to their senses.

"President Bush has worked tirelessly over the last seven years of his administration to lay a foundation for this peace process," said Rice.

The secretary also reminded Palestinians skeptical of America's role in the peace process that Bush had directly committed "American taxpayer resources" to the birth of a Palestinian Arab state.

PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said Friday Olmert & Abbas will meet Sunday in Jerusalem

A spokesman for Olmert confirmed the meeting.

Abbas to meet Olmert Sunday with "package of demands"

Islamic Jihad says Hamas-Israel ceasefire not to last for long

Israel may release 450 MORE terrorist scumbags

HAMAS: Israel must free 1,000 terrorists for Shalit




Diversion - Dyin' day
Album: Scary Tactics

Armageddon it on


Alkaline Trio ~ Armageddon

CLICK ME

More Christians have been killed for their faith in the 20th century than have been martyred in the total history of Christianity

Sunday attack by VHP against christians in south Indian state of Karnataka [LINK]

INDIA Priest’s Mutilated Body Discovered In Andhra Pradesh, Church Shocked [LINK]

China halts shipment of Bibles from Vision Beyond Borders, a U.S. Christian group [LINK]

Bible college students assaulted in Mangalore-karnataka [LINK]

Christian priest martyred for his faith in Andhra Pradesh [LINK]

Radicals celebrate 62nd Indipendance [sic] in Madha Pradesh brutalising Christians [LINK]

Attacks on Christians in Davangere, Karnataka [LINK]

Christian school in Jharkhand set on fire [LINK]

Pastor Rajendra Gowda and Kumara tortured and arrested in Karnataka [LINK]

Pastor and Believers attacked in Rona, Gadag Dist, Karnataka [LINK]

Chinese police arrest Christians in Tianamen square:GCIC calls for freedom [Persecution.in]

Evangelist beaten up and arrested for worshiping Jesus Christ in Ankola, Karnataka [Persecution.in]

20 Muslim nations ban U.S. religious workers
Yet State Department allows entry to 100s of Muslim clerics each year
[Worldnetdaily.com]

NIGERIA: ISLAMIST GROUP ATTACKING CHRISTIANS IN KWARA STATE [Compassdirect.org]

LAOS: AUTHORITIES DETAIN 90 CHRISTIANS
Officials crack down in three provinces; some believers held in wooden stocks.
[Compassdirect.org]

Muslim father burns Christian daughter alive - Man slices out girl’s tongue, ignites her after ‘heated debate on religion’. A Saudi Arabian Muslim father cut out his daughter’s tongue and lit her on fire upon learning that she had become a Christian. [Worldnetdaily.com]

Chinese Deport Americans For Praying. Three Americans had a first-hand experience of religious persecution in China when they were arrested in Beijing, questioned for hours, then deported back to the United States. Their crime? Praying in public. [Thebulletin.us]

PAKISTAN: CHRISTIAN ALLEGEDLY MURDERED
Family of young man accuses Muslim girlfriend’s relatives of torture, ‘honor killing.’ [Compassdirect.org]

NORTH KOREA: Christians murdered, sources state. A North Korean army general who become a Christian was, after he had begun to evangelise in his unit, shot dead by another senior army officer in 2003, Protestant sources have told Forum 18 News Service. Other known Christians are in some cases martyred by being shot, or are imprisoned. The sentence is dependent upon the situation. [Forum18.org]

Somali Islamists declare : “we will slaughter Christians” - “Somalis are 100% Muslim and will always remain so”. [Militantislammonitor.org]


Vox Day, in The Irrational Atheist, lists 22 atheistic regimes that committed 153,368,610 murders in the 20th century alone:


Murders by Atheists (20th Century):

Afghanistan 1978–1992 1,750,000
Albania 1944–1985 100,000
Angola 1975–2002 125,000
Bulgaria 1944–1989 222,000
China/PRC 1923–2007 76,702,000
Cuba 1959–1992 73,000
Czechoslovakia 1948–1968 65,000
Ethiopia 1974–1991 1,343,610
France 1793–1794 40,000
Greece 1946–1949 20,000
Hungary 1948–1989 27,000
Kampuchea/Cambodia 1973–1991 2,627,000
Laos 1975–2007 93,000
Mongolia 1926–2007 100,000
Mozambique 1975–1990 118,000
North Korea 1948–2007 3,163,000
Poland 1945–1948 1,607,000
Romania 1948–1987 438,000
Spain (Republic) 1936–1939 102,000
U.S.S.R. 1917–1987 61,911,000
Vietnam 1945–2007 1,670,000
Yugoslavia 1944–1980 1,072,000


Deep Purple ~ This Time Around/Owed To 'G'

WFRL: DJ Q-Burn Spins...


SPIRIT on the Beat Club~ 1970, performing "1984"

1984
Knockin' on your door

Will you let it come?

Will you let it run your life?

1984
Knockin' on your door
Will you let it come?
Will you let it run your life?

Someone will be waiting for you at your door
When you get home tonight
Ah yes, he's gonna tell you darkness gives you much more
Than you get from the light

Classic plastic guards well they're your special friend
He sees you every night
Well he call himself the brother but you know it's no game
You're never out of his sight

1984
Knockin' on your door
Will you let it come?
Will you let it run your life?

It's time you started thinking inside your head
That you should stand up and fight
Oh just where will you be when your freedom is dead
Won't you listen tonight?

Those classic plastic coppers, they are your special friends
They see you every night
Well they call themselves protection but they know it's no game
You're never out of their sight

1984
Knockin' on your door
Will you let it come?
Will you let it run your life?


Directions to Orwell's grave.
It's easy to find now because the spinning is audible.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Orwell: "Politics and the English Language" 1946


DAVID BOWIE ~ 1984



Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language -- so the argument runs -- must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.

Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts. The point is that the process is reversible. Modern English, especially written English, is full of bad habits which spread by imitation and which can be avoided if one is willing to take the necessary trouble. If one gets rid of these habits one can think more clearly, and to think clearly is a necessary first step toward political regeneration: so that the fight against bad English is not frivolous and is not the exclusive concern of professional writers. I will come back to this presently, and I hope that by that time the meaning of what I have said here will have become clearer. Meanwhile, here are five specimens of the English language as it is now habitually written.

These five passages have not been picked out because they are especially bad -- I could have quoted far worse if I had chosen -- but because they illustrate various of the mental vices from which we now suffer. They are a little below the average, but are fairly representative examples. I number them so that i can refer back to them when necessary:

    1. I am not, indeed, sure whether it is not true to say that the Milton who once seemed not unlike a seventeenth-century Shelley had not become, out of an experience ever more bitter in each year, more alien [sic] to the founder of that Jesuit sect which nothing could induce him to tolerate.

    ~ Professor Harold Laski (Essay in Freedom of Expression)

    2. Above all, we cannot play ducks and drakes with a native battery of idioms which prescribes egregious collocations of vocables as the Basic put up with for tolerate, or put at a loss for bewilder . ~ Professor Lancelot Hogben (Interglossa)

    3. On the one side we have the free personality: by definition it is not neurotic, for it has neither conflict nor dream. Its desires, such as they are, are transparent, for they are just what institutional approval keeps in the forefront of consciousness; another institutional pattern would alter their number and intensity; there is little in them that is natural, irreducible, or culturally dangerous. But on the other side, the social bond itself is nothing but the mutual reflection of these self-secure integrities. Recall the definition of love. Is not this the very picture of a small academic? Where is there a place in this hall of mirrors for either personality or fraternity?

      ~ Essay on psychology in Politics (New York)

    4. All the "best people" from the gentlemen's clubs, and all the frantic fascist captains, united in common hatred of Socialism and bestial horror at the rising tide of the mass revolutionary movement, have turned to acts of provocation, to foul incendiarism, to medieval legends of poisoned wells, to legalize their own destruction of proletarian organizations, and rouse the agitated petty-bourgeoise to chauvinistic fervor on behalf of the fight against the revolutionary way out of the crisis. ~ Communist pamphlet

    5. If a new spirit is to be infused into this old country, there is one thorny and contentious reform which must be tackled, and that is the humanization and galvanization of the B.B.C. Timidity here will bespeak canker and atrophy of the soul. The heart of Britain may be sound and of strong beat, for instance, but the British lion's roar at present is like that of Bottom in Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream -- as gentle as any sucking dove. A virile new Britain cannot continue indefinitely to be traduced in the eyes or rather ears, of the world by the effete languors of Langham Place, brazenly masquerading as "standard English." When the Voice of Britain is heard at nine o'clock, better far and infinitely less ludicrous to hear aitches honestly dropped than the present priggish, inflated, inhibited, school-ma'amish arch braying of blameless bashful mewing maidens!~ Letter in Tribune

Each of these passages has faults of its own, but, quite apart from avoidable ugliness, two qualities are common to all of them. The first is staleness of imagery; the other is lack of precision.

The writer either has a meaning and cannot express it, or he inadvertently says something else, or he is almost indifferent as to whether his words mean anything or not. This mixture of vagueness and sheer incompetence is the most marked characteristic of modern English prose, and especially of any kind of political writing. As soon as certain topics are raised, the concrete melts into the abstract and no one seems able to think of turns of speech that are not hackneyed: prose consists less and less of words chosen for the sake of their meaning, and more and more of phrases tacked together like the sections of a prefabricated henhouse. I list below, with notes and examples, various of the tricks by means of which the work of prose construction is habitually dodged:

Dying metaphors. A newly invented metaphor assists thought by evoking a visual image, while on the other hand a metaphor which is technically "dead" (e.g. iron resolution) has in effect reverted to being an ordinary word and can generally be used without loss of vividness. But in between these two classes there is a huge dump of worn-out metaphors which have lost all evocative power and are merely used because they save people the trouble of inventing phrases for themselves.

Examples are: Ring the changes on, take up the cudgel for, toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, no axe to grind, grist to the mill, fishing in troubled waters, on the order of the day, Achilles' heel, swan song, hotbed. Many of these are used without knowledge of their meaning (what is a "rift," for instance?), and incompatible metaphors are frequently mixed, a sure sign that the writer is not interested in what he is saying.

Some metaphors now current have been twisted out of their original meaning without those who use them even being aware of the fact. For example, toe the line is sometimes written as tow the line. Another example is the hammer and the anvil, now always used with the implication that the anvil gets the worst of it. In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about: a writer who stopped to think what he was saying would avoid perverting the original phrase.

Operators or verbal false limbs. These save the trouble of picking out appropriate verbs and nouns, and at the same time pad each sentence with extra syllables which give it an appearance of symmetry. Characteristic phrases are render inoperative, militate against, make contact with, be subjected to, give rise to, give grounds for, have the effect of, play a leading part (role) in, make itself felt, take effect, exhibit a tendency to, serve the purpose of, etc., etc.

The keynote is the elimination of simple verbs. Instead of being a single word, such as break, stop, spoil, mend, kill, a verb becomes a phrase, made up of a noun or adjective tacked on to some general-purpose verb such as prove, serve, form, play, render. In addition, the passive voice is wherever possible used in preference to the active, and noun constructions are used instead of gerunds (by examination of instead of by examining). The range of verbs is further cut down by means of the -ize and de- formations, and the banal statements are given an appearance of profundity by means of the not un- formation.

Simple conjunctions and prepositions are replaced by such phrases as with respect to, having regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the hypothesis that; and the ends of sentences are saved by anticlimax by such resounding commonplaces as greatly to be desired, cannot be left out of account, a development to be expected in the near future, deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory conclusion, and so on and so forth.

Pretentious diction. Words like phenomenon, element, individual (as noun), objective, categorical, effective, virtual, basic, primary, promote, constitute, exhibit, exploit, utilize, eliminate, liquidate, are used to dress up a simple statement and give an air of scientific impartiality to biased judgements.

Adjectives like epoch-making, epic, historic, unforgettable, triumphant, age-old, inevitable, inexorable, veritable, are used to dignify the sordid process of international politics, while writing that aims at glorifying war usually takes on an archaic color, its characteristic words being: realm, throne, chariot, mailed fist, trident, sword, shield, buckler, banner, jackboot, clarion.

Foreign words and expressions such as cul de sac, ancien regime, deus ex machina, mutatis mutandis, status quo, gleichschaltung, weltanschauung, are used to give an air of culture and elegance. Except for the useful abbreviations i.e., e.g., and etc., there is no real need for any of the hundreds of foreign phrases now current in the English language. Bad writers, and especially scientific, political, and sociological writers, are nearly always haunted by the notion that Latin or Greek words are grander than Saxon ones, and unnecessary words like expedite, ameliorate, predict, extraneous, deracinated, clandestine, subaqueous, and hundreds of others constantly gain ground from their Anglo-Saxon numbers.* The jargon peculiar to


*An interesting illustration of this is the way in which English flower names were in use till very recently are being ousted by Greek ones, Snapdragon becoming antirrhinum, forget-me-not becoming myosotis, etc. It is hard to see any practical reason for this change of fashion: it is probably due to an instinctive turning away from the more homely word and a vague feeling that the Greek word is scientific.


Marxist writing (hyena, hangman, cannibal, petty bourgeois, these gentry, lackey, flunkey, mad dog, White Guard, etc.) consists largely of words translated from Russian, German, or French; but the normal way of coining a new word is to use Latin or Greek root with the appropriate affix and, where necessary, the size formation. It is often easier to make up words of this kind (deregionalize, impermissible, extramarital, non-fragmentary and so forth) than to think up the English words that will cover one's meaning. The result, in general, is an increase in slovenliness and vagueness.

Meaningless words. In certain kinds of writing, particularly in art criticism and literary criticism, it is normal to come across long passages which are almost completely lacking in meaning.† Words like romantic, plastic, values, human, dead, sentimental, natural, vitality, as used in art criticism, are strictly meaningless, in


† Example: Comfort's catholicity of perception and image, strangely Whitmanesque in range, almost the exact opposite in aesthetic compulsion, continues to evoke that trembling atmospheric accumulative hinting at a cruel, an inexorably serene timelessness . . .Wrey Gardiner scores by aiming at simple bull's-eyes with precision. Only they are not so simple, and through this contented sadness runs more than the surface bittersweet of resignation." (Poetry Quarterly)


the sense that they not only do not point to any discoverable object, but are hardly ever expected to do so by the reader. When one critic writes, "The outstanding feature of Mr. X's work is its living quality," while another writes, "The immediately striking thing about Mr. X's work is its peculiar deadness," the reader accepts this as a simple difference opinion. If words like black and white were involved, instead of the jargon words dead and living, he would see at once that language was being used in an improper way.

Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies "something not desirable." The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides.

It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Pétain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.

Now that I have made this catalogue of swindles and perversions, let me give another example of the kind of writing that they lead to. This time it must of its nature be an imaginary one. I am going to translate a passage of good English into modern English of the worst sort. Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

This is a parody, but not a very gross one. Exhibit (3) above, for instance, contains several patches of the same kind of English. It will be seen that I have not made a full translation. The beginning and ending of the sentence follow the original meaning fairly closely, but in the middle the concrete illustrations -- race, battle, bread -- dissolve into the vague phrases "success or failure in competitive activities."

This had to be so, because no modern writer of the kind I am discussing -- no one capable of using phrases like "objective considerations of contemporary phenomena" -- would ever tabulate his thoughts in that precise and detailed way. The whole tendency of modern prose is away from concreteness. Now analyze these two sentences a little more closely. The first contains forty-nine words but only sixty syllables, and all its words are those of everyday life. The second contains thirty-eight words of ninety syllables: eighteen of those words are from Latin roots, and one from Greek.

The first sentence contains six vivid images, and only one phrase ("time and chance") that could be called vague. The second contains not a single fresh, arresting phrase, and in spite of its ninety syllables it gives only a shortened version of the meaning contained in the first. Yet without a doubt it is the second kind of sentence that is gaining ground in modern English. I do not want to exaggerate. This kind of writing is not yet universal, and outcrops of simplicity will occur here and there in the worst-written page. Still, if you or I were told to write a few lines on the uncertainty of human fortunes, we should probably come much nearer to my imaginary sentence than to the one from Ecclesiastes.

As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy. It is easier -- even quicker, once you have the habit -- to say In my opinion it is not an unjustifiable assumption that than to say I think. If you use ready-made phrases, you not only don't have to hunt about for the words; you also don't have to bother with the rhythms of your sentences since these phrases are generally so arranged as to be more or less euphonious. When you are composing in a hurry -- when you are dictating to a stenographer, for instance, or making a public speech -- it is natural to fall into a pretentious, Latinized style.

Tags like a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind or a conclusion to which all of us would readily assent will save many a sentence from coming down with a bump. By using stale metaphors, similes, and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself. This is the significance of mixed metaphors. The sole aim of a metaphor is to call up a visual image. When these images clash -- as in The Fascist octopus has sung its swan song, the jackboot is thrown into the melting pot -- it can be taken as certain that the writer is not seeing a mental image of the objects he is naming; in other words he is not really thinking. Look again at the examples I gave at the beginning of this essay.

Professor Laski (1) uses five negatives in fifty three words. One of these is superfluous, making nonsense of the whole passage, and in addition there is the slip -- alien for akin -- making further nonsense, and several avoidable pieces of clumsiness which increase the general vagueness. Professor Hogben (2) plays ducks and drakes with a battery which is able to write prescriptions, and, while disapproving of the everyday phrase put up with, is unwilling to look egregious up in the dictionary and see what it means; (3), if one takes an uncharitable attitude towards it, is simply meaningless: probably one could work out its intended meaning by reading the whole of the article in which it occurs. In (4), the writer knows more or less what he wants to say, but an accumulation of stale phrases chokes him like tea leaves blocking a sink. In (5), words and meaning have almost parted company.

People who write in this manner usually have a general emotional meaning -- they dislike one thing and want to express solidarity with another -- but they are not interested in the detail of what they are saying. A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:

1. What am I trying to say?

2. What words will express it?

3. What image or idiom will make it clearer?

4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

And he will probably ask himself two more:

1. Could I put it more shortly?

2. Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?

But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you -- even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent -- and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.

In our time it is broadly true that political writing is bad writing. Where it is not true, it will generally be found that the writer is some kind of rebel, expressing his private opinions and not a "party line." Orthodoxy, of whatever color, seems to demand a lifeless, imitative style. The political dialects to be found in pamphlets, leading articles, manifestoes, White papers and the speeches of undersecretaries do, of course, vary from party to party, but they are all alike in that one almost never finds in them a fresh, vivid, homemade turn of speech. When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases -- bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder -- one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them.

And this is not altogether fanciful. A speaker who uses that kind of phraseology has gone some distance toward turning himself into a machine. The appropriate noises are coming out of his larynx, but his brain is not involved as it would be if he were choosing his words for himself. If the speech he is making is one that he is accustomed to make over and over again, he may be almost unconscious of what he is saying, as one is when one utters the responses in church. And this reduced state of consciousness, if not indispensable, is at any rate favorable to political conformity.

In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism., question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.

Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

"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."

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. I should expect to find -- this is a guess which I have not sufficient knowledge to verify -- that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship.

But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better. The debased language that I have been discussing is in some ways very convenient. Phrases like a not unjustifiable assumption, leaves much to be desired, would serve no good purpose, a consideration which we should do well to bear in mind, are a continuous temptation, a packet of aspirins always at one's elbow. Look back through this essay, and for certain you will find that I have again and again committed the very faults I am protesting against. By this morning's post I have received a pamphlet dealing with conditions in Germany. The author tells me that he "felt impelled" to write it.

I open it at random, and here is almost the first sentence I see: "[The Allies] have an opportunity not only of achieving a radical transformation of Germany's social and political structure in such a way as to avoid a nationalistic reaction in Germany itself, but at the same time of laying the foundations of a co-operative and unified Europe." You see, he "feels impelled" to write -- feels, presumably, that he has something new to say -- and yet his words, like cavalry horses answering the bugle, group themselves automatically into the familiar dreary pattern. This invasion of one's mind by ready-made phrases (lay the foundations, achieve a radical transformation) can only be prevented if one is constantly on guard against them, and every such phrase anaesthetizes a portion of one's brain.

I said earlier that the decadence of our language is probably curable. Those who deny this would argue, if they produced an argument at all, that language merely reflects existing social conditions, and that we cannot influence its development by any direct tinkering with words and constructions. So far as the general tone or spirit of a language goes, this may be true, but it is not true in detail.

Silly words and expressions have often disappeared, not through any evolutionary process but owing to the conscious action of a minority. Two recent examples were explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned, which were killed by the jeers of a few journalists. There is a long list of flyblown metaphors which could similarly be got rid of if enough people would interest themselves in the job; and it should also be possible to laugh the not un- formation out of existence*, to reduce the amount of Latin and Greek in the average sentence, to drive out foreign phrases


*One can cure oneself of the not un- formation by memorizing this sentence: A not unblack dog was chasing a not unsmall rabbit across a not ungreen field.


and strayed scientific words, and, in general, to make pretentiousness unfashionable. But all these are minor points. The defense of the English language implies more than this, and perhaps it is best to start by saying what it does not imply.

To begin with it has nothing to do with archaism, with the salvaging of obsolete words and turns of speech, or with the setting up of a "standard English" which must never be departed from. On the contrary, it is especially concerned with the scrapping of every word or idiom which has outworn its usefulness. It has nothing to do with correct grammar and syntax, which are of no importance so long as one makes one's meaning clear, or with the avoidance of Americanisms, or with having what is called a "good prose style." On the other hand, it is not concerned with fake simplicity and the attempt to make written English colloquial. Nor does it even imply in every case preferring the Saxon word to the Latin one, though it does imply using the fewest and shortest words that will cover one's meaning.

What is above all needed is to let the meaning choose the word, and not the other way around. In prose, the worst thing one can do with words is surrender to them. When you think of a concrete object, you think wordlessly, and then, if you want to describe the thing you have been visualizing you probably hunt about until you find the exact words that seem to fit it. When you think of something abstract you are more inclined to use words from the start, and unless you make a conscious effort to prevent it, the existing dialect will come rushing in and do the job for you, at the expense of blurring or even changing your meaning. Probably it is better to put off using words as long as possible and get one's meaning as clear as one can through pictures and sensations.

Afterward one can choose -- not simply accept -- the phrases that will best cover the meaning, and then switch round and decide what impressions one's words are likely to make on another person. This last effort of the mind cuts out all stale or mixed images, all prefabricated phrases, needless repetitions, and humbug and vagueness generally. But one can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never us a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

These rules sound elementary, and so they are, but they demand a deep change of attitude in anyone who has grown used to writing in the style now fashionable. One could keep all of them and still write bad English, but one could not write the kind of stuff that I quoted in those five specimens at the beginning of this article.

I have not here been considering the literary use of language, but merely language as an instrument for expressing and not for concealing or preventing thought. Stuart Chase and others have come near to claiming that all abstract words are meaningless, and have used this as a pretext for advocating a kind of political quietism. Since you don't know what Fascism is, how can you struggle against Fascism? One need not swallow such absurdities as this, but one ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy.

You cannot speak any of the necessary dialects, and when you make a stupid remark its stupidity will be obvious, even to yourself. Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. One cannot change this all in a moment, but one can at least change one's own habits, and from time to time one can even, if one jeers loudly enough, send some worn-out and useless phrase -- some jackboot, Achilles' heel, hotbed, melting pot, acid test, veritable inferno, or other lump of verbal refuse -- into the dustbin, where it belongs.

~ GEORGE ORWELL 1946

WFRL: Avenging Angels

WFRL dedicates this spin to the Archangel Michael

'Archangel Michael' painted by Daniel Mirante


Space ~ Avenging Angels

Calling all avenging angels

Vengeance, you know it tastes so good
Vengeance is as cold as ice
When it has you in its sights
When it has you in its sights

Calling all avenging angels (Angels, kick ass angels)
Calling all avenging angels (Angels, kick ass angels)

You could give a call to Scotland Yard,
Or send for help from the FBI.
But they won't stop a bomb going off
With only seconds on the clock

Calling all avenging angels (Angels, kick ass angels)
Calling all avenging angels (Angels, kick ass angels)

Angel, oh angel,
Here to brighten up my darkest day.
Take me in your arms,
Protect me from my enemies. (Enemies)
Oh deadly angel, oh angel,
And when they've got me on my knees -
When they're just about to do the deadly deed
You rescue me, you rescue me, you rescue me!

Calling all avenging angels (Angels, kick ass angels)
Calling all avenging angels (Angels, kick ass angels)

Missing Links: Bordering on Disaster


ELTON JOHN ~ BORDER SONG

Holy Moses....I have been deceived!
Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.
~ II Chronicles 20:15-17

Hezbollah downs Lebanese chopper, thought it was Israeli

Egypt to partially open its border with Gaza this weekend


Israel reaches decision not to let Iran go nuclear

Israel arrests Fatah man who was pardoned but 'returned to terror'

but...but.... Fatah are our friends! Abbas is a man of peace!

5 women buried alive "for honor"

ACLU sues over Santa Rosa County school prayers
The goals of the ACLU were clear from the group’s founding, as indicated by the writings of its founder, Roger Baldwin: “I am for socialism, disarmament, and ultimately for abolishing the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion. I seek social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class… Communism is the goal"
Putin maps the boundaries of greater Russia

BWAK! US chicken industry awaiting details of Russia ban

Good. More bird for me.

A sick society wallowing in its own vomit


Molly Hatchet
Flirtin' With Disaster


Red Ken Livingstone to become adviser to Hugo Chavez

VIVA ITALIA! Italy Proposes Bill to end all Mosque Construction

Egypt: Police prevent Copts from repairing their church

SIOE is holding a "No sharia here!" demo in London on 9/11

Hamas leader: We'll retrieve Jerusalem only by way of jihad
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Wednesday that the Islamist group will not accept any future peace agreement that does not include the return of Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley to Palestinians hands and the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes in Israel.

Speaking at a ceremony marking 39 years since the fire at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, Haniyeh said "no one can cede Jerusalem, the city from which the Prophet Muhammad ascended to the heavens.

"Jerusalem will be retrieved to the Palestinians not through negotiations or by hugging and kissing the enemy, but by way of jihad, blood, shahids and resistance. With Allah's help, Jerusalem will be returned," he said.
Lucas Catherine conference at Brussels Catholic school: Israel is an apartheid state

Democrat's Biden On his pro-abortion stance: "My Views are Totally Consistent with Catholic Social Doctrine..."

Douglas Kmiec Makes His ‘Catholic Case’ for Obama

Abortion protesters drowned out at women's caucus

Israel-Syria "deal"'?

Israel's suicidal choice

Assad working "post-Georgia" world to his advantage


Brad Sucks ~ Borderline