22 June 2017

The Christian Serpent

The Christian Serpent

A Rattlesnake came home to his brood and said: "My children, gather about and receive your father's last blessing, and see how a Christian dies."

"What ails you, Father?" asked the Small Snakes.

"I have been bitten by the editor of a partisan journal," was the reply, accompanied by the ominous death-rattle.

- 30-

OK, this one tickles me no end. I love the image of the "editor of a partisan journal" as honey badger. Don't know what a honey badger is, well, let me slow down the bandwagon for you:
SPOILER ALERT: The Christian Serpent will not survive this encounter...

In this era of hyper-partisan reporting, one of the most irritating things to me is the apparent increase in imprecise language. I'm certainly *not* the first to notice it. There was that guy, oh yeah, Orwell

The first category of obfuscation is conflation of related, but distinct, things. For example, health insurance is *not* health care, but you'd have a damn hard time figuring that out from reading the papers. Blogs? Forget about it! If the United States government does not enforce a system whereby you pay someone to pay doctors for care your receive, then you will have no access to health care!


Insurance is a *terrible* model for providing things that everybody needs. It's an *excellent* model for pooling risk so by paying a little you can hedge against losing a lot. How many people who voted understand this distinction? I wouldn't hazard a guess, but I have talked to a journalist who didn't care about the distinction. Seriously. That's not the point, apparently.

The second category of obfuscation is euphemism. People who are not citizens or permanent resident visiting a foreign land are "aliens". An alien is by definition:
noun: a foreigner, especially one who is not a naturalized citizen of the country where they are living -- Google's reply for "define: alien"
If you're not in a country legally, then you're likely in it illegally. So, as harsh as it may seem to politically correct ears, illegal alien describes a foreigner living or even temporarily residing in a country illegally concisely. Undocumented immigrant is less concise, and even misleading. An immigrant by definition:
noun: a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country -- Google's reply for "define: immigrant"
A kid from some other country, who by circumstances outside of his control, who overstays his student visa, but is trying to get home, is not an undocumented immigrant. He's documented, though the documentation is expired, and he is not an immigrant.

Now, just by choosing the concise and more accurate definition has become politicized. What's my position on immigration? I bet you're wrong in what you think I think. Such is the power of this politically correct bullshit. Which definition do you think George Carlin would prefer, and why? Now you're getting closer.

The third category of obfuscation is the implied judgement. If a politician is skeptical that the best solution to improving education doesn't mean spending more on the status quo, then reporters might note that she's "anti-education" in a lefty rag. If a politician is skeptical that it's strictly necessary to add 10% on top of a defense budget that is bigger than then next seven or eight (who's counting?) countries combined, then he's "weak on defense" in a righty, or pro-war-party rag. This has a pernicious effect as it slithers its way down the sewers of (anti-)social media.

Think immigration laws, even if they're imperfectly written should be enforced? You're an racist, anti-immigrant, alt-right (nazi, wink, wink, nudge, nudge), pig-dog! Think that folks who came here illegally, live hear illegally breaking no laws other than those related to living and working here, get married, raise kids who are American kids with American dreams might have some path to get right with the law and have a path to legal residency, or maybe even citizenship? You're a traitorous anti-American who despises the rule of law and takes sides with illegals before your own fellow citizens pig-dog!

Good grief! Knock it off already!

In all of my praise of conciseness, I find that Bierce was more concise and entertaining.

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