Wednesday, August 03, 2005

A struggle within the Muslim faith

George Lakoff writes about the Bushies’ rebranding of The War Against Terror (TWAT) into the Global Struggle Against Violet Violent Extremism (G-SAVE). He thinks the timing of the change was because the London bombings made nonsense of the claim that the war in Iraq had anything to do with preventing terrorism. One could equally claim that, since the purpose of the war frame was to consolidate unaccountable power in the hands of the president, the permanent renewal of the Patriot Act meant that TWAT’s true mission has been accomplished. Either way, Lakoff is right that the awkwardness of the new term is deliberate:
The new phrase is less comprehensible, long, complicated. You almost have to memorize it: ‘global struggle against ...what was that exact wording again? Oh yeah, ‘violent extremism.’ It doesn’t sound like poetry, but in a perverse way it is. It says the administration’s policy is like the words for it: hard to comprehend, long, complicated. The new phrase is not memorable, and that’s the point.
In fact, according to Rumsfeld, we’re pretty much bystanders: “This is not a war between the United States and the Muslim faith or between Iraq and the Muslim faith. It is a struggle within the Muslim faith.” Cool, so why are we occupying Iraq again?

Oscar Wilde, updated.

We return to that continual source of amusement, the London Review of Books personals:

My only academic achievement was contaminating the water supply in class 2C by sneezing over the beaker tray. It caused the biggest outbreak of conjunctivitis ever known at Sutton Primary. I wasn’t sorry then and I’m not sorry now. Bitter PR exec. (F, 34). WLTM man to 40 who enjoys living on the edge (of Putney). Box no. 15/04

Suggest to me something obscure. F,37 Clapham. Box no. 15/06

‘All he needs are some psychiatric treatments to reduce the strength and regularity of his biorhythmic brain explosion episodes. For one so young, his powers of telekinesis are far beyond that of any project we’ve developed so far. His brain has the power to rule the world. It may cause you some problems at home, but the benefits of the bionic mind far outweigh the pitfalls.’ My school report, 1979 (Porton Down Preparatory School). So much promise then, look at me now. Ex-superhero, now librarian (M, 31) seeks solvent woman to 35 for scrabble, real ale, and spontaneous morphing. Wilts. Box no. 15/07

Bellini(s) before Bellotto? Awfully attractive editor (F, 50) seeks cure for alliterative addiction.

Want to meet you, but I can give no information.
[More of my LRB favorites here.]

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