Academic journal article et Cetera

The New Doublespeak: Why No One Knows What Anyone's Saying Anymore

Academic journal article et Cetera

The New Doublespeak: Why No One Knows What Anyone's Saying Anymore

Article excerpt

William Lutz. The New Doublespeak: Why No One Knows What Anyone's Saying Anymore. New York: HarperCollins 1996.

This book is a sequel to Doublespeak: From Revenue Enhancement to Terminal Living in which the author continues to document the latest doublespeak that tries to pass as legitimate communication. Lutz considers doublespeak as language that is evasive, deceptive, self-contradictory, or misleading. So killing enemy soldiers is simply a case of "servicing the target" after which the bodies of the dead are called "decommissioned aggressor quantum." Lies told by politicians become "strategic misrepresentations," "reality augmentation," or "terminological inexactitudes." The book is replete with examples of ridiculous doublespeak (including a "doublespeak quiz" which might make a fun party game).

Lutz brings great expertise to this subject. He was the editor of the Quarterly Review of Doublespeak for fourteen years and is a professor of English at Rutgers University and a member of the Pennsylvania bar. In addition to documenting doublespeak in law, business, and politics he makes a plea for responsible use of language: "Language is not irrelevant to the foundations of an orderly society; it is essential. …

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