Tuesday, May 19, 2020

The United Nations and Newspeak

In my never-ending search for interesting subjects on the internet, I stumbled on this tweet from the United Nations' Twitter feed:

So, now not only are we on lockdown, the power behind the World Health Organization is trying to tell us how we should refer to each other.  You will notice, however, that the United Nations uses the word "women" twice in its tweet.

I often refer to my favourite novel, George Orwell's 1984, in my postings.  Let's look at an Orwellian reference, "newspeak":

"The term "newspeak" was coined by George Orwell in his 1949 anti-utopian novel 1984. In Orwell's fictional totalitarian state, Newspeak was a language favored by the minions of Big Brother and, in Orwell's words, "designed to diminish the range of thought." Newspeak was characterized by the elimination or alteration of certain words, the substitution of one word for another, the interchangeability of parts of speech, and the creation of words for political purposes. The word has caught on in general use to refer to confusing or deceptive bureaucratic jargon." (my bold)

Here is a further explanation of newspeak:

1984 - we have finally arrived.  We are just 36 years late.

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