Opinion from Liddick: Orwellian language games continue with Paula Deen and Trayvon Martin
Ryan Summerlin July 10, 2013
The great English writer George Orwell warned us. We pressed on, regardless. Now we find ourselves on the threshold of the dystopia he often described, a world in which words have no intrinsic meaning and communication about ideas is impossible. Instead, there are sterile lectures and agit-propaganda.
Such a world is inherently unstable; it will eventually collapse of its internal contradictions because its inhabitants are unable to reconcile what they know to be true with the “truth” they receive from those who control the language, using it as an instrument of despotism.
Consider two examples from our current discourse on race: Paula Deen and George Zimmermann. Ms. Deen, a 66-year-old evangelist for southern cooking, has recently been roasted, fried, boiled and fricasseed for admitting under oath that she had, “at some time” used the “N-word.” No, not “nougat.”
Seriously? When Ms. Deen was 10, President Dwight Eisenhower was sending the 82nd Airborne to forcibly desegregate the schools of Bill Clinton’s home state, and the late Senator Harry F. Byrd was still wearing white sheets with two eyeholes. If sworn testimony is involved, I think most honest people growing up south of the Mason-Dixon line would ‘fess up to uttering the dreaded word at least once. More than a few north of the line would as well.
That Ms. Deen is condemned for speaking a word comedian Chris Rock and rapper Jay-Z use in profusion says much more about the motives of those piling on — and about our society — than it does about her. Then, there’s the strange case of George Zimmermann.
Mr. Zimmermann is on trial in Florida for shooting Trayvon Martin. He claims self-defense; prosecutors say it was a cold-blooded killing. The physical evidence is not in question: Mr. Zimmermann had wounds consistent with his account, as did Mr. Martin. Nevertheless, from the beginning the former has been portrayed as a white man full of racist anger and the latter as a 12-year-old child victim. In truth, Mr. Zimmermann is Hispanic, and at the time of the incident, Mr. Martin was a 5’11”, 145-pound, 17-year-old football player with a penchant for fighting and getting high.
Which is unimportant. Instead, the damning evidence seems to be Mr. Zimmermann’s use of racial slurs and epithets in calls to police dispatchers. Including the “N-word.”
Why is this word so toxic when uttered by some that it can end careers and send people to jail, while in the mouths of others it is the stuff of commercial success? It boils down to the user’s race. But look up “racism” in any decent dictionary, then try to explain why the common apology for Hip-Hop’s “N-word” excesses isn’t a stomach-churning example of erasing plain meaning.
There are other, graver examples of “Newspeak,” two of which are the stock-in-trade of the Left: “diversity” and “tolerance.” When the Colorado Left, personified by our very own Representative Jared Polis speaks of “diversity,” it’s quite clear what he means. It’s something measured in terms of “… gender, religious beliefs, or who (people) love …” It’s about black Americans and illegal immigrants, the “LGBT community” and “the underrepresented.” Supporting this sort of “difference” is an unmitigated good.
But diversity of thought? Of philosophy or politics? Heaven help you if you don’t see things the way this champion of “diversity” and his cronies do. That’s illegitimate; toe the Left’s line or you are a “cult hero of hate,” to use a phrase coined by one of the congressman’s colleagues. And if you put your money where your mouth is, supporting conservative organizations or activities, expect the IRS to come calling at the bidding of its master, the President. The Left’s celebrated “diversity” is sexualized and skin-deep.
Tolerance? One hears this ad nauseum from the Left, but it applies only to favored classes and ideas. “One Colorado” a prominent “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered” pressure group, says it is now fighting to protect their clients from “bullying in our schools, barriers in our health care systems and harassment in our workplaces.” Others face these challenges too, but — some groups deserve more toleration than others.
Will “One Colorado” and its ilk demand “tolerance” for the Catholic Church’s position on health care? On “LBGT issues?” Hardly. Although the Church is a major provider of health and social services in Colorado, whose well-known policies on both have been hammered out over centuries, the Left only sees them as “… reactionary right-wing politics of the Catholic bishops.” Or of “bitter old people” who must die, or “tiny-brained folks.” Tolerance is compulsory toward left-wing positions, but forbidden for those of others, which must immediately be consigned to the Memory Hole.
Paging Winston Smith …
Morgan Liddick lives in Summit County.
Trending In: Columns
- Helton: Amendment 69 does control health costs (column)
- Catron: Summit County doctor’s top-ten reason to vote no on Amendment 69 (column)
- Liddick: A skeptic’s guide to the Colorado ballot (column)
- Mountain Law: Is it against the law in Colorado to leave a child unattended in a motor vehicle?
- Williams: Vail Resorts vows to take on workforce housing (column)
- Housing Divided, Part 2: Summit’s most vital workers live elsewhere
- Breckenridge town council rebuts claim it reneged on parking garage promise
- Truck stolen from Wildernest winds up on Baldy Road in Breckenridge
- Kelly Samuels: 1969 – 2016
- Best fall hikes for aspen leaves in Summit County (before they’re gone!)