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Makeshift Patriot

I generally have more sympathy for journalists than this Sage Francis song shows, and I mourn the current shrinkage of quality reporting in the world, but I do recall my own shock at the news coverage vitriol in the weeks and months after 9/11. Sometimes I would remark upon what I considered the inappropriate words used by journalists and the way that they failed to question the simplistic (and as it turns out false) rhetoric of George Bush and his minions. I was reminded of Toni Morrison’s words in her 1993 Nobel Prize acceptance speech: “[T]ongue-suicide … is common among the infantile heads of state and power merchants whose evacuated language leaves them with no access to what is left of their human instincts, for they speak only to those who obey, or in order to force obedience.”

“The systematic looting of language,” she goes on, “can be recognized by the tendency of its users to forgo its nuanced, complex, mid-wifery properties, replacing them with menace and subjugation.” This kind of language, she notes, “does more than represent violence; it is violence.”

Let us watch out for that, always. It is something we can do in our daily lives: listen and stop ourselves when we are caught up in “the language that drinks blood, laps vulnerabilities, tucks its fascist boots under crinolines of respectability and patriotism as it moves relentlessly toward the bottom line and the bottomed-out mind.”

P.S. My use of this version of the Sage Francis song video does not represent support for the 911debunkers blog.

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