The Tragic Irony of the 1950s

YatesRichard Yates has one of his primary characters in Revolutionary Road offer this fantasy view of life:

… I still had this idea that there was a whole world of marvelous golden people somewhere, as far ahead of me as the seniors at Rye when I was in sixth grade; people who knew everything instinctively, who made their lives work out the way they wanted without trying, who never had to make the best of a bad job because it never occurred to them to do anything less that perfectly the first time. Sort of heroic super-people, all of them beautiful and witty and calm and kind, and I always imagined that when I did find them I’d suddenly know that I belonged among them, that I was one of them, that I’d been meant to be one of them all along, and everything in the meantime had been a mistake; and they’d know it too. I’d be like the ugly duckling among the swans. — April Wheeler

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Good news from Mitt Romney?

Yes, Mitt has made it clear that he has mastered the art of Doublespeak. You may have heard in the secondary news market that Mitt has shaken the Etch-a-Sketch again and now promises that he will not work to repeal or modify any Abortion Laws. But that’s not the good news. The good news is that we have a wonderful statement on which to exercise our critical thinking skills.

First, let’s take a moment and consider the concept of Doublespeak. Although most people might point to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four as the origin of this concept, it actually is not in that book; rather, Orwell references “Doublethink” and “Newspeak.” What is important to remember about all three of these terms is that they are meant to obscure, mislead, and perpetuate untruths. Orwell writes in Nineteen Eighty-Four:

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them….To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies.

I’m sure we can recall numerous examples of Doublespeak in politics, but the subject here is one easily misleading statement by a candidate for President of the United States.

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