George Bush, packaging, and the war on language

19 Jul

…with a footnote on John Howard.

Last July I noted US admits defeat in war on semantics:

The “war on terror”, the resonant catchphrase of the Bush Administration for the past four years, is to be discreetly phased out in favour of more nuanced language.

The re-branding is part of what America’s critics will say is a long overdue acknowledgement by the Pentagon of the complexity of the challenge of combating al-Qaeda.

“As the struggle evolves some of the language will evolve as well,” a senior Administration official said.

On Truthout William Fisher now writes:

The punditocracy has lately been waxing eloquent about President Bush’s softer, more conciliatory tone and less hysterical, more humble rhetoric, which many have trumpeted as “the end of cowboy diplomacy.”

Not on your Nellie. If you believe our cowboy in the White House has somehow morphed into world statesman, have a look at Dubya’s two most recent choices for big promotions…

We were given a privileged glimpse of the reality when that microphone was left open yesterday. See an annotated transcript in The Independent. A UK satirical site called The Spoof has a lot of fun with this. I am sure The Chaser will have noted it as well. The White already has.

Meanwhile John Howard has made the most of another photo-op with men (and women) in uniform with suitable flag backdrop, this one in East Timor. Perhaps it wasn’t planned, though the images do serve well in a week when the Liberal Party has copped a fair amount of flack. See, for example, Racist Young Liberals ‘not uncommon’ on Lateline and of course The Right Stuff on Four Corners. Not to mention Peter Costello’s recent head-butt.

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One response to “George Bush, packaging, and the war on language

  1. Daniel

    July 19, 2006 at 11:13 am

    I reckon that when Bush was talking to Blair with his mouth full, he spoke more clearly than usual. By clearly, I mean the sounds seemed more audible though nothing he says is ever very clear.

    Perhaps when he was evading National Service in Vietnam he suffered too many G-forces and something snapped in the connection between his tongue and his brain…sorry, I didn’t mean to use the word ‘brain’. There’s little evidence that he actually has one

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