Thursday, May 31, 2007

Semantics, folks. Semantics.

The recent story about our local TB patient who went globe trotting with his new wife while carrying what he knew to be a drug resistant form of tuberculosis is pretty odd and troubling on many levels but there is something to be gleaned from this that smacks of Doublespeak. The patient stated to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he had complied with the CDC and Fulton County Health Department officials on everything, "except the solitary confinement request" in Italy.

So, medical isolation for a contagious and highly dangerous disease is now considered "solitary confinement"? Really? I thought solitary confinement is a form of punishment given to prisoners, or used as a torture tactic.

It's all in the semantics, folks. When you feel you've been given a raw deal, the best way to call yourself a victim, without outright saying it, is to use words that evoke the belief that you've been victimized. I'm sure our TB patient would not like to experience solitary confinement in it's actual form which is served in prisons and CIA run rendition locations.

What this man has done is provide us with an excellent example of how Doublespeak really works and how using the word war to manipulate others into being sympathetic/empathetic to your situation really works. Politicians aren't the only people who know how to manipulate emotions based on words and their usage.

The masters of propaganda fully understand how to use Doublespeak and how to manipulate us with words. Marketing and advertising gurus have this same knowledge and they also use it to manipulate us in ways of separating us from our money. Religious leaders also understand this craft and look toward the James Dobsons and Pat Robertsons of this world to see how they twist words and definitions to make their flock conform.

When medical isolation becomes solitary confinement to a self described "well educated, intelligent and successful" person it's a sign we should all keep in mind that the tricks of the trade that propagandists use are around us every day.

No comments: