Plain Speaking



There is a truth, an honesty, an economy in the use of plain language that every day is becoming more lost to us. 1984 has come and gone,  and I doubt even George Orwell could have foreseen how real his prophecy of the evils of doublespeak would become.


We have long ago renamed the War Department the Department of Defense. We have sanitized the language of war and killing so that we now refer to the destruction of a city as the “pacification of the enemy” and the obliteration caused by missiles filled with high explosives as “surgical strikes”. The horrors that war inflicts on our own soldiers has gone through a similar process. During World War I the mental breakdown caused by the terrors of combat upon our soldiers was appropriately called “shell shock”. By WW II, we had downgraded the haunted, catatonic to be suffering from “battle fatigue”. Zip through Viet Nam and Iraq, and now we have men and women with “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” or PTSD. We no longer kill people; we simply “neutralize” them. You should be frightened to know that the Pentagon measures the amount of radiation from a nuclear strike in “sunshine units.” How long before some well intentioned souls decide that the world is in need of a better tan?


Companies no longer fire employees. They don’t even “lay them off” for that would mean they could be expected to pick them back up. They “rationalize” them, “downsize” them, “outsource” their jobs while allowing the few stragglers to “multi-task” in the gaps.

And I won’t even begin to discuss the obfuscation practiced by the federal government along with the hordes of our politicians!


There are words that were designed to make us angry, that bring forth a justified outrage directed at their targets: killer, liar, thief, murderer, rapist, cheater. We need to use these words in the settings and the occasions for which they were intended. We need to maintain our sense of having been violated, to be able to express our anger and just fury when the conventions of civilized behavior are broken. We need to fight and reject the efforts of all who want to hide their destructive, lethal actions behind innocuous, soft sounding words. Damn them all!

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25 Responses to Plain Speaking

  1. Aafrica says:

    Jorge, i hear you, every word of it. i wonder who are we fooling? ourselves?

  2. Jaime Campbell says:

    Hello my friend.
    I have so missed visiting!  I am glad to be here tonight.  Words.  Yes, they are very powerful.  The honesty level seems to have dropped.  People seem to be intentionally vague as not to be held responsible for their actions.
    I am happy to read YOUR words.  🙂
    Love to you.

  3. Cheryl says:

    As i read this 3 times, I was listeningto CSPAN…I heard many of those sanatized words being used…Sad state we are in…

  4. Gayle says:

    I agree that injustice/oppression/manipulation/etc all require a full and honest vocabulary.  But, I think we have come to a place where we would rather not see, pretend not to hear or to know the truth.  We find it hard to face the reality of the deeds done around us.  Perhaps because we feel powerless to stop them.  It\’s easier to point fingers outward and lay blame, than to tell the truth about the part we each play in keeping the spin going.
    I mean what would happen if we really took a look at our economy and began to admit that even though many of us have mortgages and can say we "own" our home, it\’s owned by the bank (and with interest only loans, there\’s no chance of individual ownership really).  But we never say we rent from the bank.  Or, that we lie and manipulate at work, as a common practice.  Spend the better part of our day pretending it\’s okay to be ruthless, to build reality-tv-like alliances, drop the wrong word about the right person and damge their career in favor of our own, and then go home and play with the kids.  We drink a couple of glasses of wine or bottles of beer a night, eat greasy things from drive-throughs that we call food, but that are really something else because they don\’t actually provide much nutrition and have been proven to harm us.  We laugh at actors sniping at one another, tearing down each other\’s sense of self and call it funny.
    We lie to ourselves about a lot of things and pretend it\’s all the way it should be.  That let\’s us off the hook of having to do anything about those things we see.
    Well, Jorge, you surely got me going.  This is one of those times I\’m going to expand in my own blog space.
    Take it light…

  5. Marge says:

    Mornin\’, Jorge…
    There was once a subtlety, an elegance present in the English language which is being lost, a little more each day. I am appalled when I see a news banner scrolling across the bottom of the tv screen during the network news. There are frequently errors in grammar and spelling which are both maddening and heartbreaking. I see similar errata in magazines and newspapers which make me wonder if the editors ever proofread their material.
    My worst fear is that our society is slowly being led into the simplistic thinking and approximate communication suited to a population of drones, capable of words of no more than two syllables at a time. Perhaps we will one day be reduced to binary language–the language of the computers–in which the only words remaining–yes and no–would be uttered in response to orders from figures of authority.
    Thank you for this razor-edged commentary, Jorge. May it inspire lively dialog among your readers.
    Peace and love, always…

  6. Gelert says:

    Yes Jorge. Everyone is afraid to look. Afraid to see how it is. Afraid to acknowledge what they do. There is also the other shade from 1984 – the double speak, the so-called politically correct double speak that began with the intention of stopping prejudice and has become laughable. \’vertically challenged\’ \’hearing-impaired\’ \’bodily-comfortable\’. What is so wrong with short, deaf or fat? They are all words. Any word can be slanted to reflect what we wish. No one can criticise their government without being \’unpatriotic\’, no one can face the truth of what is sometimes done by their governments in their name – unbearable!  Sometimes it hurts to look at what we are or what we do, but until we face up and fit the word to the fact, we can go nowhere but in circles. (or should I say – be non linear driven?)

  7. redvelvet says:

    Great post & I couldn\’t agree with you more… thanks for your comment on my space… if MSN does not do something soon… I will be gone & will stop using the Premium service completely. Since they began all this "live" stuff… my service has been terrible… I visited my friends space at eblogger & it was so nice to see the page pop up without delay… makes me wonder why I put up with this mess in the first place…  

  8. PJ says:

    Good Evening Jorge,
    What an absolute direct and awakening entry. As with all the others, I am in total agreement. It is a sad world we are becoming, if not already have. We, as a society, are so used to hearing this "language" that it makes me wonder….the "younger" generation hears nothing but this…they will not realize that it is "swept under" the proverbial carpet….to make it sound less harmful than it truly would they know is softened? We, as adults have the responsibility to teach those the true meaning of this nonsense. The saddest part of all is there will be those children that will never know, due to the lack of reasonable parenting.
    Sorry I left such a long response to this..however, you struck a nerve . I thank you for this entry. You are so correct!
    Hoping you have a most wonderful weekend! Thank you for always stopping in.
    Until next time…Keep Smiling.

  9. erik says:

    yes, how can a \’pro-life\’ administration, and their followers, also advocate the wholesale death, destruction, and degradation of a people? 
    and how can mankind \’make it right\’? later on, if as in Revelation, the ground is not \’like glass\’ from all the sand being melted away…then who will pick up the pieces?  our children, or their children?  and what sort of memories will they have? what sort of distorted and twisted, shattered minds and bodies?  will the earth withold it\’s bounty? will there be cropland at all?
    and if so, who will run the plantations?

  10. Charlotte says:

    I agree!!!  How well I remember when working for a corporate travel company 8 years ago, and one of my fellow workers called me to tell me she had been "separated" from the company that day.  It seemed she didn\’t take enough calls per hour.  What they failed to acknowledge was when someone did call and got her on the line they booked their reservations for the next 4 to 6 weeks because she was so thorough and made sure everything was done correctly.  she had more reservations that was required but didn\’t meet the call #s per hour so they "separated" her…. She said to them, "so you are firing me?"  They said, "no, we never fire anyone, we are simply separating you from the company."  She said, "so like couples who separate, does that mean I will be asked to return…??"  "Oh NO, she was told.. So, she said, :"SO simply put how ever you white wash the words you are firing me!!!"  Bullshit, no matter how it is splattered is still bullshit!!!!  Thanks for an excellent post..I AGREE!!!..  hugs, lottiemae

  11. Lakota Clay says:

    I think it is we who have become euthanized, dulled through the incessant dinning of words that mean nothing. 
    Case in point:  follow the Alaska pipeline issues.  Amazing use of double-speak. 
    Thank you, Jorge, for being willing to once again tell us that the Emperor has no clothes.  L.

  12. Kathryn says:

    just stopping by……

  13. Kathryn says:

    meant to say "stopping by to read…."

  14. Berk Efe says:

    so damn right!

  15. Brian says:

    Once I was threatened (rightly so) with being sacked from a summer job.  Certainly I deserved  dressing down, but the supervisor, an odious little man who fancied he was Elvis, said, "I should terminate you."  Terminated? I felt like the last dog at the pound.  But this can\’t stand up to such egregious examples as "collateral damage" as we are seeing so much in the Lebanon now, and the classic Rumsfeldian "stuff happens."  Rumsfeld is another odious little man with few brains than God gave cauliflower, and that is the scary thing: such people are in charge.

  16. David says:

    And what happened to good honest jobs like janitor, secretary, programmer?  Or even semi-honest like Salesman?  All I ever find are sanitary engineers, executive assistants and software developers – and representatives.  And we think we see through this shit, but insensibly we are seduced.  The problem with telling the truth, though, is in knowing what it is; and then caring – and even deciding what battles we want to fight.  And may I point out to Not Larry, a prior commenter, that \’pro-life\’ is one of the biggest lies of all? 

  17. Gracia says:

    I can\’t speak with big words. I have to open up MS Word\’s thesaurus to help me have my blogs sound halfway intelligent. But I do appreciate the fact that English is such a varied, flowery language, even if that bouquet of language loveliness is used to foil the masses.
    I speak plainly. I speak simply. I read even simpler. But every now and then I do quite like the adjectives and verbs that turn this ugly world of war and hate into something slightly better. Even if it masks the truth just a little. We all need just a little escape from the truth. Sip the lovely nectar and then with one quick swallow we\’ll gulp down the dregs of doom.

  18. Marie says:

    I fully agree, Jorge!
    When I was studying the Japanese language, I found it to be so indirect that it was often so difficult to understand what the speaker wants to say.  They say that this is the proper and polite way. I always told them that I prefer the directness and preciseness of the English language, but now, I find English become more and more indrect like the Japanese language.  LOL!!
    I am glad that you took time to enjoy some Japanese food with your loved ones and was delighted to learn that you like sushi.  Hugs, Marie

  19. Randa says:

    came here thru Marge\’s space…wat an incredibly HONEST post…how very true. In Iraq the US officials were \’liberating the iraqis\’ and removing all nuclear weapons ..instead, they\’ve killed more Iraqis than anyone could\’ve ever comprehended and found no nuclear arms 2 remove from the country.
    By supporting Israel in Lebanon, they are helping them stand their ground.." go ahead, take ur time..kill more children plz"…
    it\’s a sad sad world, but wow..ur post was gr8
     Randa 🙂

  20. Jaime Campbell says:

    Hey Jorge,
    Just coming by to say hi.  I hope everything is going great for you and that you\’re having a good week.  Take care.  Hugs, J.

  21. PJ says:

    Good Evening Jorge,
    making my evening "rounds" and hoping this finds you having a wonderful evening. Take care ny friend.
    Until next time…Keep Smiling.

  22. Lakota Clay says:

    Jorge, I reread your blog and still agree. Have added my own thoughts at mine.  Peace.  L.

  23. Fenix says:

    Hello Jorge, how are you?
    World seems to have gone crazy… I don\’t known, extremist attitudes are considered normal, we go to the self-destruction

  24. Val says:

    hola muy interesante  tu space…mantenlo!

  25. linda says:

    dAMN THEM ALL!  gosh jorge , this one is really from the gut, I think you said it so simply so the average person can undersstand what you mean, and how true it is… desensitizing our vocabulary …. on a humour side it popped in my mind, the volcano erupted violently with molten lava… REPORTED AS  the hill spit……..huricane wipes out half of USA….REPORTED AS  storm blankets us with some problems…. earthquake rattles and demolishes hundreds of homes and thousands left homeless , all belongings destroyed………the evening news," road construction begins , and a festival of stars will be preforming just outside the effected area, it will be no time before things will be back to normal."
    Or,is it the three monkeys , hear no evil , see no evil, do NOTHING!
    Yes, we are thinking about words this week, is there lack of communication, we have so much communication at our finger tips… I believe a fourth of our society spends (in USA) most of the time saying a particular four letter word.. it is suppose to have thousands of meanings? huh? f**K
    I am a lady I rarely use the word myself.
    Just adding my other side of a coin, which is what my surgery will be 50/50% chance of sucess, so I figure toss a coin and hope for heads…..

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