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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
My true love drowned in a dirty old pan / Of oil that did run from the block / Of a falcon sedan 1969 / The paper said '75
— Neko Case, Star Witness
March 3, 2011
The Harper Government Uproar

It seems that Stephen Harper’s decision to ask senior civil servants to use the phrase The Harper Government to describe the Government of Canada has caused quite the furor. The Globe & Mail now writes that Harper has been accused of shaping other language to suit the government’s political ends.

Offensive? Maybe. Surprising? Absolutely not. I’m more surprised that the media has kicked up a fuss.

This is what politicians do. They manipulate language and choose words to obscure hard truths and blunt the impact of messages they think will be unpopular. These linguistic games are have been going on for years: Barak Obama had the audacity to hope for just about everything; George Bush senior had his 1,000 points of light that appeared to shed little light on anything;Mike Harris’s “common sense” revolution conveniently ignored much that made sense;Trudeau’s “just society” while a noble goal masked a deficit spending addiction; troops returning from the Gulf War suffered from a “syndrome” instead of being shell shocked.

The line goes back much farther than that, but a detailed tracing of each point on it is hardly necessary to make the point. I can’t understand why the Globe is surprised: manipulating language is what politicians do. Stephen Harper’s just doing an extremely bad job of hiding it.

Posted by skooter at 7:44 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics, Words.
This entry is tagged: Barak Obama, George Bush, Pierre Trudeau, Stephen Harper

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