Politics and the English Language: What Orwell Meant Pt2

As stated in the essay, politics tend to bend the actual intentions of the speaker, i.e. using political speech to convey messages more often than not confuses the reader or the listener and leads to digressive remarks and actions. Euphemisms are quite popular in political speeches and debates (both written and spoken). As Orwell says, “[Thus] political language has to consist largely of euphemisms, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”

Even though euphemisms may seem essential to generate assent within the public and justify the actions that may otherwise seem inhumane and decadent, they wrongly inform the public of the actual intentions of the speaker.

An opponent may say that the use of such words makes an orator, like Mark Antony way from Julius Caesar; but Orwell would firmly disagree. An orator would be a person who can shape the opinions of the public by using simple diction, not someone who depends on ambiguity to gain support.

Orwell dismisses the notion that language grows naturally, and instead says that the growth of language depends largely on its use by the common people. He believes that the decadence that is created by modern English can be eliminated by a few concerned individuals who incorporate his above-mentioned rules in their daily lives.

Orwell appears to be an anarchist of political English; reproaching abstract speeches and the influence of politics in our daily lives. Politics, according to Orwell, has successfully permeated all of our social walls, including our tongues and pens. These nuances have to be changed through personal effort.

Perversion of the English language can be stopped by embracing its Saxon roots and speaking and writing with an everyday ease.

Politics and the English Language: What Orwell Meant Pt1

The English language is a rather volatile subject; constantly and incessantly changing and shifting, as adequately supplied in the essay, ‘Politics and the English Language,’ by George Orwell. In his essay, Orwell comments on the degrading nature of modern English and accuses politics for deteriorating the dialects of English used now-a-days.

The way we act and speak is generally constructed by a consensus in our society, so naturally, our language keeps changing with the change in the general consensus. To emphasize this, Orwell states that the decline of language is ultimately associated with political and economic causes.

Consensus in a society is made by people, and these people are highly swayed by the laws that they abide by, i.e. the politics they follow. Orwell exemplifies his statement on the role of politics in the decline of English language by providing five passages that believes are corrupted by the use of modern English.

In the first passage by Professor Herald Laski, Orwell tells the readers about the counterproductive effect of using, “superfluous” and, “jargon” words. Professor Laski’s passage uses, as said by Orwell, “five negatives in fifty words.” This usage fails to create a clear picture of what Professor Laski was trying to say.

Furthermore, in the second passage Orwell accuses Professor Lancelot Hogben for misusing the word, ‘egregious,’ and says that Professor Hogben simply did not put in the effort of looking that word in the dictionary.

While stating these mistakes, Orwell’s voice is not that of mockery or condescendence, but of an understanding cultivated by making similar mistakes.

George Orwell does not simply state these mistakes but also provides legitimate explanations for why these mistakes were made.  He says that this was due to the excessive use of worn-out idioms, pretentious words, passive voice and unneeded metaphors that accompany modern English.

The author of this essay condemns vagueness in written and spoken prose. He says that in order to convey the genuine image of what is in the writer’s mind, the writers must first paint a picture of the object in his mind and then deliver it to his audience by using everyday English words. Precision, according to Orwell, is an important element that should be regularly incorporated into our writing.

Western Hegemony Over Media

Malcom X once said, “The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They control the minds of the people. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power.”

Now imagine if this power was concentrated in the hands of just a few nations. Nations that are already powerful in almost every other social and economic aspect. I believe it would be safe to say that this power would be immensely prone to misuse.

The gap between how different countries see the world is enormous and this makes it necessary to establish a diverse and representative media that can grasp the fabric of different societies.

Western hegemony over media not only makes the representation of diverse groups restricted, but also fails to provide genuine information that can cater to every individual. A media source based in the United Kingdom will think first and foremost of the impact on its citizens while broadcasting news before it thinks about the impact on its international viewers.

Media is the mirror of society and it is about time that it starts reflecting the true image of the world.

The Feminine Etiquette: Choice

The twenty first century is a good century to be alive because most of us have the liberty to own our reproductive health. But sometimes the way we exercise that liberty might be different for each of us.

There are plenty of women out there who never want to have kids and there are plenty who do. I think it’s time we stop telling women what’s the ultimatum of life.

Some women would like to get married and have kids and have a nice, quintessential family. Some women might want to solely focus on their career or use that (plenty) extra money they’ll be saving by not having kids on travelling to the places that they’ve always wanted to go.

But every time a young woman tries to tell someone that she doesn’t want to have kids, she’s shut down and told that “she’ll change her mind.” Do you really want to force your image of a happy and satisfied life on another woman?

Let’s stop telling young women that they’ll change their mind and decide against not having kids when they grow up. Your womb doesn’t make you a woman just as much as your marital status doesn’t make you a person.

Humanitarian Intervention in the UN Charter

Attacks by non-state actors in countries should be taken up us an imperative issue in the United Nations and within the UN Charter.

Fighting against groups like ISIS and ISIL, that have the potential to cause serious attacks and mass hysteria in countries, is a compulsion, especially for targeted countries, so as to protect the rights and safety of its citizens. This makes it important for the right to self-defense be properly defined within the UN charter and provisions for allocation of resources to the targeted country be also adequately defined.

A large number of casualties resulting from a terrorist attack of certain magnitude calls for the use of self-defense to ensure the safety of the citizens of the country. Comprehensive legislative laws at the international level are important in maintaining and establishing peace in areas of terrorist attacks, since it is only through international cooperation that the issue of terrorism – an issue that adversely affects every nation involved – can be tackled efficiently.

For this purpose, International cooperation and collective action as a part of self-defense should also be clearly defined within the UN Charter so as to provide a basis for which humanitarian intervention can be used efficiently.

The Feminine Etiquette: Makeup

If I could get a penny for the number of times I’ve been told to not do a certain thing because boys wouldn’t like that, I’d be rich.

The general standard of beauty has been so thoroughly shaped by cis men that we’re all falling for it without giving it a second thought.

There might have been times when you would have seen your friend douse her head in a little too much make up. And you might have cringed at that and told her to bring it down her little. Well, don’t do that anymore.

You have all the means to go and stop your friend from looking like a clown, but don’t stop her from experimenting with makeup. Let her own the look she wears.

A lot of the times women are taken less seriously because of what they decide to do with their face. If we put on too little or no makeup, we’re dry and boring. If we put on too much makeup then we’re surely unintelligent.

It’s about time that we stop defining each other because of how we choose to look.

The Catcher in the Rye

The Catcher in the Rye is a book of omnipresent dilapidation of human character. Reading it through its initial chapters, I couldn’t really understand why it was taught in schools and why so many people loved it so much. The first five chapters were boring, “depressing,” and they seemed to lack direction. It wasn’t until later in the book that I realized what direction the book was actually heading in.

This book has a very unconventional style of writing, especially considering the time period during which it was written. The protagonist in this book is not a highly relatable person, and this may seem a little off putting since readers love to be able to relate to the characters in the book. But even though the protagonist, Holden, isn’t especially relevant to an ordinary person, Salinger has still managed to make his entirety very tangible.

Holden reciprocates accentuated teenage angst and alienation; the want of fitting in and the torment of not being able to. Taken from a literary point of view, this accentuation in itself serves to be an extended metaphor for the very stage of adolescence.

The Catcher in the Rye does not revolve around a definite plot, but instead, it evolves around definitive human emotions. The book follows Holden through his mental labyrinth of trying to find himself and what he really wants to be; it traces concepts of emotional voids, depression, and liberation through a narrative pattern. Something from within the book that describes the book perfectly is this quote:

“The man falling isn’t permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling.”

That is pretty much the gist of the book. You can hear Holden fall, you can very well feel him falling, but you just have to keep waiting until he can hear it too.

The Feminine Etiquette: Assertion

For centuries we’ve sat on a wooden dining table and lend our ears to men talking and telling us what to do. But now that we’ve finally started talking as well, we’re being told that we’re too loud.

Women often restrain themselves from raising their voice because everyone’s almost too quick to tell us that we’re being rude. But how many times has a male boss raised his voice and gotten praised for getting work done?

If you see a woman owning her career and taking on a leadership role, go and support her. Don’t tell her that she’s being “bossy” just because she wants to get work done. I don’t hear anyone calling a man “bossy” because he’s being a good leader.

We have to teach young girls that taking on actual responsibility and handling it like a boss doesn’t make them any less attractive to anyone. Only then can they grow up dominate their career of choice.

Does the Hijab Scare You?

Three weeks ago, I had written an article about dress codes and sexist behavior that has been inculcated in us for so long that it has become normalized.

Well, the same goes for a woman who is covering up her body more than you normally do (and it isn’t cold outside). There might have been times when you have seen a woman walk by in a hijab or a burqa and you felt utter sympathy for her because you think she’s just succumbing to sexism.

There seems to be this trailing misconception going around that Muslim women who chose to wear a hijab do so because they are forced by their religion or because of male family members.

But on the contrary, many Muslim women wear the burqa because they truly want to. This can come from various aspects of their lives including respecting their religion, wanting to continue with their family tradition, or simply because they feel empowered when they cover themselves.

I had once asked my Muslim friend why she chose to wear the hijab every day. She had replied to me saying, “I wear the hijab every day because I feel so empowered to know that I am defying the societal standard of beauty set to please the male gaze.”

So, don’t be afraid of the hijab. It’s another piece of clothing that women use to define themselves and endow themselves with their own authority.

On Media and Reforms

While Legislative, Executive and Judiciary are the three pillars of Democracy, Media has emerged as another more significant pillar of democracy in today’s world.  Historically media has played an important role in governing and developing nations, in today’s world, with the increasing presence and influence of electronic and social media, the role of media has become more and more prominent. Media has the task of keeping the public informed about the happenings around the world. Not only just covering the incidents, but also providing the proper details. The Media professionals act as the watchdogs of society.

Media is that pillar of democracy which is always supposed to favor the public and show them the truth. Whether it is a political activity or a policy decision-making, it is the Media that can influence the public opinion on making valid decisions. Election of electoral representatives or even formation of the government is the results of public opinion influenced by Media.

Media provides transparency in the government. Only the fear of being exposed can restrict the corrupt individuals from unlawful activities. If the media does not uncover them or starts supporting them, they will rule without fear. The media today, has the power to transform the system for the betterment of masses. which is not favorable for masses or democracy.

Media should act like a mirror, which shows or strives to show the bare truth and harsh realities of life to the masses. However in certain cases such as those involving national security, religious sentiments or personal life and dignity of public figures, Media is expected to exercise self-censorship so that the fabric of society is not ruffled.

In the words of Malcom X “The media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.”