"Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind."
Politics and the English Language, George Orwell (1946)
James (Cem) Ryan
Imagine, Barack Obama at a loss for words? He’s groping for a linguistic equivalent for the G-word, GENOCIDE. There, I wrote it! He may be the last world-class politician still desperately seeking synonyms. He’s even used the Armenian-equivalent G-word, “meds yeghern,” Armenian for “great catastrophe.” But even the Armenians don’t like that one. They want the real G-word and they want it in English.
There is an easier way, Mr. President. And since I voted for you when you were once eloquent, I offer the following presidential anecdote as a solution.
When Gerald Ford asked Herb Stein, his chief economic adviser, to avoid the “R” word, Stein told a group of reporters “From now on, I won't use the word ‘recession.’ I'll say ‘banana.’ When I say ‘banana,’ think 'recession'. I think we must be wary of the risks of a banana.”
It worked. There was never an economic recession again, just some bananas. And so it can be for all these great catastrophes, these…these…meds yegherns…these geno…. Let’s be courageous. Let’s eradicate genocide from the world—and our vocabularies—forever! Yes you can, Mr. President!
Just say banana!