Loaded pistols said Sartre. Powerful drugs said Kipling.
Yes, the true meanings of words seem to vary in these recent times. So-called “truth” constantly needs further investigation. This little piece of fiction plays around with that idea.
Dr Yorec Veil
Doctor Veil is a former citizen of Elysium, in the Land Of Two Rivers. Born in hard times within a country where university study was mostly no more than a poverty stricken dream, he broke free of pauperdom by winning scholarships. His rise in Academia was rapid and distinguished, leading him to several teaching posts and awards.
Sadly his former university was destroyed in the Iraq invasion of 2003. Fortunately for mankind he survived and is now a distinguished staff member at Hope University in Brazil. His works and philosophy are now part of a broad canvas.
His most recent missives follow.
Now Some Non-fiction From Me
Recommended Source: Don Watson weaselwords.com.au.
Weasel words are the words of the powerful, the treacherous and the unfaithful, spies, assassins and thieves. . . To speak the words the powerful speak is to obey them, or at least to give up all outward signs of freedom. Don Watson (205 p.1).
I want to share with you some weasel examples. Maybe it will help to explain my contempt.
Once, when applying for a job teaching English to migrants, I asked a CEO if there was a predominant approach to the teaching of essay writing. I needed to know if genre writing was used as well as or instead of traditional methods.
The reply was very brief: world’s best practice. Now what did that answer do for me, a professional seeking to do his job well? Did it mean: “I want to test you not me so I will tell you nothing” ? Did it mean: “I am ignorant actually, so I will use this high sounding language of emptiness to cover my tracks”? Or was that CEO simply under the influence of Edward Bernays, trying to control me with Bernaysian manufactured consent ?
You decide. As for me, I did not get that job and went to teach in a university where it was a little harder to cover up the truth. Not always impossible though.
When leaders fire weasel words at us we have a problem. Don Watson sums up weasel power pretty well regarding President Bush, The Younger, and Prime Minister Howard.
Our two leaders have sucked the meaning out of the words . . . They are shells of words: words from which life has gone, facsimiles, frauds, corpses. (loc.cit.)
Look what such people have done to the proverbs I learnt as a child. Weasel words below for sale: half price.
Look before you cut and run.
He who hesitates is decruited.
All that glitters is not an accounting irregularity.
A miss is as good as change management.
Fortune favours critical success factors.
Manners maketh the self actualiser.
While there’s life there’s a mission statement.
Actions speak louder than the chattering classes.
Call a spade an action plan.
Give credit where credit is clear evidence.
A picture is worth a thousand absolutely collaborative events.
A change is as good as a capability gap.
A friend in need is a circle of strength.
A pot calling the kettle non-core.
Every dog has its global bulge bracket pedigree.
Two heads are better than a Client Infrastructure Representative (CIR).
What the eye doesn’t see the heart doesn’t disconnect.
Silence is bulletproof.
What you eat today walks and buys-in tomorrow.
As you sow, so shall you drill down.
And pop goes the weasel.
Principal Reference: Watson, Don. 2005. Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words. Sydney. Random House.