“If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

“But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”
George Orwell, 1984

propaganda: information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.

mob

(mɒb)

n

1.

a. a riotous or disorderly crowd of people; rabble
b. (as modifier): mob law; mob violence.
2. often derogatory a group or class of people, animals, or things
3. often derogatory the masses
 

As  a professional wordsmith I am acutely aware of the power of language: how one word out of place can change an entire meaning; how language can be used to inflame as well as to inform; how propaganda can be presented as opinion.

th

The scenes of December 2 are not ones that anyone in their right mind would want to see repeated  but since then words such as ‘mob’ and ‘paramilitary’ have been casually bandied about as each ‘side’ (and make no mistake, there are sides) seeks to stake their claims to the high ground.

And as each side seeks an advantage over the other, the language becomes increasingly emotive, exaggerated and, ultimately,  misleading which only exacerbates an already fraught situation.

It seems certain that we will see December 2 repeated, probably on February 3 when the House of Assembly reconvenes. Before then, I am sure we will also see some form of protest over the decision not to give the Rev. Nicholas Tweed a work permit.

This article does not seek to explore any rights or wrongs about the two aforementioned events but it does seek to ask that people are mindful of the language they use:  on social media, on talk shows, in print, on comments, in opinions, in press releases, statements and editorials.

Every person has a right to express an opinion – as am I here – but please make that opinion based in fact, and please be mindful of the power of the pen.

Orwell said language can corrupt which is true – it can corrupt actions and if actions are said to speak louder than words, it is the words that have been the catalyst.

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on ““If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

Add yours

  1. I wrote mob and frankly I’d do it again. It is a valid word to describe the masses, a crowd or a large group of people.

    “Despite all this, the PLP continues to politically outmaneuver the OBA. They’re simply far more adept at manipulating the mob and public opinion to their will while the OBA is the opposite, playing right into their hands.”

    Yes, certainly it could be inflammatory in some contexts but really, where are the posts about suggestions of people bringing ammunition and guns? There’s been tons of poor and inflammatory rhetoric and yet you keep mentioning the use of mob.

    Google “dictionary” and you get the following sources as the top 3 results and then search mob in each one of those. There are lots of definitions that describe mob in the fashion of “a group” or “a crowd”

    http://www.dictionary.com

    includes definitions of mob (http://www.dictionary.com/browse/mob?s=t) as

    noun
    1. a disorderly or riotous crowd of people.
    2. a crowd bent on or engaged in lawless violence.
    3. any group or collection of persons or things.
    4. the common people; the masses; populace or multitude.
    5. a criminal gang, especially one involved in drug trafficking, extortion, etc.
    6. the Mob, Mafia (def 1).
    7. Sociology. a group of persons stimulating one another to excitement and losing ordinary rational control over their activity.

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org?

    http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/mob

    [ C ] usually disapproving a large, angry crowd, especially one that could easily become violent:
    The angry mob outside the jail was/were ready to riot.
    a lynch mob
    50 people were killed in three days of mob violence.

    [ C ] informal a group of people who are friends or who are similar in some way:
    The usual mob was/were hanging out at the bar.

    [ S ] informal an organization of criminals:
    a New York mob leader

    https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/mob

    1. press tightly together or cram
    2. a loose affiliation of gangsters in charge of organized criminal activities

      1. I was just selfishly hoping you’d provided insights into your thoughts on some of the things that have been happening lately and was disappointed that you’re still mentioning mob. 🙂

        Framing and emotions drive things quite a bit more, so I do agree that generally we need to be careful about how we use language. I usually try to be. Unfortunately there are some who intentionally choose inflammatory language to further an agenda.

  2. I use mob a lot as it seems to sum up how people feel – as you say it can be a gathering or it can have a more malicious meaning. it fitted my narrative about the use/abuse of language.
    My thoughts? Lol, I’m not sure I have time 🙂 Fundamentally though this is not about a union issue, it is not about tweed or the airport – it is about power and destabilising the Government.
    have you noticed how quiet the PLP has been? Either they recognize the hypocrisy (threatening the AC is threatening Bermudian livelihoods, for instance) and are keeping quiet (I sense a groundswell against this action) and/or they are letting the unions take the flack and do their dirty work.
    There’s a lot more – tweed is now a martyr which makes the OBAs PR job nigh on impossible (Unless they find another martyr), Feb 3 is looming and we know there will be more protests and everyone will be on their toes after the pepperspraygate (LOL), if tweed has to go there will be demos/blockades at the airport ….
    this will run and run …

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