Which leads me to one of my rants, this one about language. I’ve noticed recently that “plain speaking” folk can be almost satanically sly. Look at any political organization in the States facing mid-terms… On the innocent end of the communication spectrum people speak to get their ideas across, on the more nefarious end there is marketing research and a weird tangle of language crafted on one hand to make some feel inclusive and on the other to show outsiders they are (most) definitely excluded.
Politicians, religious organizations, social groups—even little old me—slip into jargon/argot/patios to signal affinity with my sphere. In my house it’s benign and almost nonsensical, The Mister refers to it as Vicki-lese, and I employ it only with family members, to take the temperature of the room, to find out what’s happening, to make sure everyone is okay.
Then there is the jargon/argot/patios that used to get me frothing, but now only elicits a shrug and a shake of the head and I remember staying “on message” is the bent of a manipulative controlling disposition.
For example, Mr. Boehner is trying to express affinity with his sphere—the “red meat” voter…
Two polls released late last week show that the politics of impeachment are, as one would expect, terrible for Republicans. CNN asked respondents whether they felt “President Obama should be impeached and removed from office” and, by a two-to-one margin, they said “no.” Fox News also polled the impeachment question and achieved a similar result: 36 percent in favor of impeachment, 61 percent against. What’s notable about the Fox poll is how they asked the question:
Do you favor or oppose impeaching President Obama for exceeding his authority under the Constitution by failing to enforce some laws and changing other laws on his own — or for any other reason?
“For any other reason.” Just think of something, whatever strikes your fancy. That question was clearly framed to maximize the number of pro-impeachment responses – it presents as a given that Obama is “exceeding his authority” – and they still couldn’t break the mid-thirties.
So nobody really wants to impeach President Obama except Sarah Palin and maybe a National Review contributor or two. What does this have to do with John Boehner? Ordinarily, nothing. But Boehner, in his infinite political wisdom, set himself up to shoulder all this impeachment criticism when he announced that he was going to sue the president over his alleged abuses of executive power…
Putin, in lying and then admitting to lying, is trying to express affinity with his sphere, the Kremlin, the military, and oligarchs everywhere:
It’s not just the men on the ground who must struggle to keep their stories straight. Even Vladimir Putin seems to have found it impossible to maintain one of his most eye-catching deceptions during the conflict in Ukraine. As the Russian military moved in to occupy the region of Crimea in March, Putin claimed that there were no Russian soldiers on the ground in Crimea, insisting they were all local volunteers who had somehow gotten their hands on Russian uniforms and weapons. He did this to avoid admitting an obvious breach of international law, and to wrongfoot the Western diplomats who were trying to figure out what exactly he was doing in Crimea. But once he had annexed the peninsula and made it part of Russia and once he had seen the toothless round of sanctions imposed on Russia by the West in response to the annexation, Putin dropped the charade. “Of course our troops stood behind Crimea’s self-defense forces,” he said, during a live call-in show with the Russian public in mid-April.
Putin seems to have found it impossible to maintain one of his most outrageous deceptions.
It was the first time in Putin’s tenure as President that he had so clearly admitted to lying to his own people and to the world, and the confession may have had a lot to do with his desire, as commander-in-chief, to acknowledge the service of his own officers in Crimea. Maintaining the lie about local “green men” taking over the peninsula could have been perceived among the Russian military as a sign that he was ashamed of the operation, or was trying to lie his way out of Western sanctions. For the sake of Russian military honor and the pride of the Russian public in having “gotten back” Crimea from Ukraine, he had to come clean.
(He then went on to praise a Nazi Propagandist, but your really should read about it in Simon Shuster’s article…)
And to further depress you, try to parse this…
Mr. Netanyahu spoke with the secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, later Monday and strongly criticized the Security Council’s call for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire. Mr. Netanyahu said the Security Council’s statement “related to the needs of a murderous terrorist organization that attacks Israeli citizens,” referring to Hamas, “and does not address the security needs of Israel,” according to a statement from Mr. Netanyahu’s office. He called on the international community to act to demilitarize the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also criticized the Security Council’s statement, saying that while the Palestinians welcomed the call for a cease-fire, it fell short by failing to address the underlying causes of the escalation, including “the continued Israeli occupation” and “the denial of basic Palestinian rights.”
The Palestine Liberation Organization, dominated by the mainstream Fatah faction, has also strongly criticized Mr. Kerry’s efforts, faulting his meetings on Saturday in Paris with European, Qatari and Turkish officials, which took place without Egyptian or P.L.O. representatives. The P.L.O. also accused the participants in those meetings of trying to circumvent the roles of Egypt and Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president and leader of the P.L.O.
Underscoring the uneasy, unilateral nature of the latest lull and the lack of coordination between the sides, with each reluctant to be led by the other, Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, said in a statement Monday morning: “The occupation still rejects any cease-fire related to the Eid. This is a disregard for Muslims’ feelings and their worship. The occupation will bear the responsibility for this escalation and the denial of the Muslims’ worship.”
I know, I know… I try to stay away from the political on Beguiling but sometimes I just can’t. In a spirit of equanimity I’ve shut down the comments on this post. Is that controlling? Yeah. I think it is—but the tyrant/oligarch/— whatever — on this particular baby is me.
Stay cool 😉 and tomorrow we’ll be back to Hollywood.