Misuse of the English Language in Political Writing

An interpretation of a political article using George Orwell’s essay Politics and the English Language.

This paper attempts to interpret the San Diego Union-Tribune October 18, 2002 editorial In a democracy, silence isn’t golden written by Colleen M. O’Connor through the ideas of George Orwell in his essay `Politics and the English Language`. It examines Orwell’s four types of problems typical to the use of English language specific to political writing: dying metaphors, verbal false limbs, pretentious diction and meaningless words and how they can be applied to O’ Conner’s article. The theme of the article is the lack of debate regarding the possibility of war with Iraq and this paper shows how through analysis, the problems that Orwell saw in the 1940’s have continued and may have grown worse as the 21st century begins.
`The next sentence provides an example of Orwell’s concern about the excess use of words with many syllables. At the beginning of the sentence we encounter the imprecise word preponderance and a long list of incompatible characters described with inconsistent parts of speech. The writer highlights a random combination of people, partisans, spokesmen, and politicians, and things, corporate propaganda. The compound word spinmeister qualifies the type of spokesmen of concern. Spin by itself is a poor term, adding the German word ‘meister` further confuses the reader. A similar list of characters on the opposite side of the discussion is presented in the same confusing manner.”