In the Winter of 1847, George Donner, theco-leader of the California-bound group of American settlers engaged in intraspeciesprotein reallocation in order to maintain metabolic integrity.
However, his failure to fulfill caloric obligationsin a timely manner rendered him unviable.
This video, is about “DoubleSpeak” – whatWilliam Lutz, author of the book titled DoubleSpeak, defines as “Doublespeak is language designedto evade responsibility, make the unpleasant appear pleasant, the unattractive appear attractive, basically its language designed to mislead while pretending not to.
” “What line of work are you in?” “Waste management consultant.
” Let’s say for example the person whose treacherousmountain climb my energy bar company sponsored cannibalized his climbing partner, it wouldbe better for me to say something that technically communicates this information, but doesn’tsound as terrible.
Lutz says there are at least four kinds ofdoublespeak.
“Protein reallocation” instead of “cannibalism”and Tony Soprano’s creative phrase to replace “Mobster” would probably fall under theFourth Kind of doublespeak which is inflated language that is designed to make the simpleseem complex or to give an air of importance to people, things, or situations.
“I don't know if that tape is working, youate three desserts tonight!” “Forbearance is the watchword; that triumvirateof Twinkies merely overwhelmed my resolve!” The concept of Doublespeak stems from GeorgeOrwell’s 1984 – in the book, “Doublethink” is a key concept.
To know and not to know, to be conscious ofcomplete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies… Doublespeak though, is rarely about deliberatelylying.
For example, In January 2015, Sid Miller becameAgriculture Commissioner of the state with the 5th fattest high schoolers in the country- Texas.
So, that same year, along with announcinga plan to combat obesity, he announced updates to the School Nutrition policy in Texas whichincluded rolling back a ban on the use of deep fryers and allowing the sale of “low-caloriebeverages” in Texas schools.
By low-calorie beverages he means .
I guess a soda is technically lower caloriethan say a “meal” .
but I doubt coca cola is what you’re expecting if you askfor a “low calorie beverage” at a restaurant.
“Why do you have so many bowling balls?” “Ah.
uh… I’m not gonna lie to you, Marge.
So long!” So, doublespeak becomes useful obviously whenyou are obligated to communicate something, but are unable to straight up lie, yet communicatingthe truth bluntly or as clear as possible doesn’t have the listener perceive the informationin the way you would like.
For example, when being asked about your currentposition during a job interview, you might think it would sound better to say “I’mcurrently economically inactive due to being offered an early retirement opportunity asa result of my previous employer’s human resource redundancy elimination initiative”instead of “I’m unemployed because the company was firing people and I got fired.
” Edward Sapir, in his essay “The Status ofLinguistics as a Science, ” says “Language is a guide to social reality .
Human beingsdo not live in the objective world alone, …, but are very much at the mercy of theparticular language which has become the medium of expression for their society.
” A lot of times, we don’t want informationcommunicated to us objectively and unembellished.
Euphemisms, like “passed away” insteadof “died” or “big boned” for “fat” are words or phrases that are usually usedto avoid a distasteful reality.
William Lutz says this is the 1st type ofDoublespeak.
“You see, I don’t like euphemisms.
I don't like language that reflects fear andconceals the truth.
” “Americans can't really handle the truth, so they invent soft language to protect themselves, and it gets worse with every generation.
” “Sometime during my lifetime, toilet paperbecame bathroom tissue, .
, used cars became previously owned transportation and constipationbecame occasional irregularity.
” “Poor people used to live in slums, nowthe economically disadvantaged occupy substandard housing in the inner cities.
They don’t have a negative cash flowposition, they're broke!” Calling an economic recession a “periodof accelerated negative growth” can be annoying, but certain forms of doublespeak are justdeceitful.
In Chapter 2 under the section “The Doublespeakof Graphs, ” Lutz gives a dated, but clear visual example of doublespeak.
“Now here’s another chart.
their taxcut, so called, is the dotted line.
Ours is the solid line.
As you can see, our tax cut keeps on goingdown and then stays down permanently.
This red space between the two lines is thetax money that will remain in your pockets if our bill passes.
” Lutz points out that there are no numberson this chart, which means you have no perspective to evaluate it with.
When you make the dollar scale from $0 to$2500 rather than the awkward $2150 to $2400, it appears much less impressive.
This kind of graphical doublespeak also appearselsewhere, used by the pharmaceutical industry for the heart protecting cholesterol loweringwonder drug – statins.
“So here's the ad in which you see that Lipitorreduced coronary events and risk for heart disease by 36%.
So this was a really important study, theone that ultimately drove Lipitor to generate over a 100 billion dollars in revenue.
So I'm gonna show you the actual data fromthe study.
And it's right here.
But here are the actual data from the study.
And somewhere in here is a 36% risk reductionwhen you compare placebo with Atorvastatin, the Lipitor.
So if you look at survival, you see they'rebasically identical, no difference in mortality benefit.
You see that tiny sliver of a difference betweenthe red and blue bars? That is a 36% reduction.
This is the wonder drug effect.
This is the effect that propelled Lipitorto generate over 100 billion dollars in revenue.
How can that be a 36% reduction in risk? When you calculate it and you look at thedata, the actual difference is 1.
1% This is where you do some statistical hijinx.
You take that 1.
1% difference between thegroups, then you add the difference between placebo and 100.
If you're not following me, it doesn't matterbecause this is silly.
Right? So you take the 1.
1, divide it by 3, whatdo you get? You get 36.
And that's why they say there is a 36 percentreduction.
And so, if you have truth in advertising, I think the 1% should actually be in the ad.
Lipitor! reduces heart attack by 1%.
“Now I'm also taking Lipitor.
” By the way, if you’re health conscious andwant to limit your sugars, you might like to know that there are 56 different namesfor sugars.
Don’t like the way just “sugar” sounds? How about “organic evaporated cane juice, ”a completely natural sweetener ? This kind of “rebranding” of words tomake people react differently is all over the place.
“Frank Luntz doesn’t do issues, he doesLanguage around issues.
He figures out what words will best sell anissue.
” In Frank Luntz’s book “Words that work, ”he explains the importance of using the right word or phrase to evoke the right responsefrom the listener.
He says “It’s not what you say, it’swhat they hear.
” “Focus on those words that cause people tochange their minds, change their behavior, even change their attitudes.
” For example, the “gambling” industry becamethe “gaming” industry and completely changed its perception despite nothing about the industryactually changing.
As Luntz says in the book: “Gambling” looks like what an old manwith a crumpled racing form does at the track.
or feels like the services provided by someseedy back-alley bookie in some smoke-filled room.
“Gaming” is what families do togetherat the Hollywood-themed MGM Grand, New York, New York, or one of the other “family-friendlyresorts” in Las Vegas.
“Gambling” is a vice.
“Gaming” is a choice.
He begins his work with something similarto a focus group.
He talks to members of the target market andruns words or phrases by them to see what they like and dislike.
“You're gonna use these to register whetheryou agree or disagree, whether you believe or disbelieve.
The dials go from 0 to 100.
” “Climbing, Climbing.
” One of his most significant political workshas been getting the public to finally be against the estate tax by removing that particularphrase from the political lexicon and replacing it with the more emotional, more personal“death tax.
” In his book originally published in January2007, Lutz says A clear but somewhat narrow majority of Americans today support eliminatingthe so-called “estate tax, ”.
but more than 70 percent would abolish the “deathtax.
” “It's the same tax, but nobody really knowswhat an estate is.
But they certainly know what it means to betaxed when you die.
” “I’d like someone to get rid of the deathtax – that's what Iwant.
I don’t wanna get taxed just because I died.
” “Who's hungry?” One food rebranding effort was so successfulthat by 2002, the National Environmental Trust started a campaign to save a previously ignoredfish species from being eaten into extinction.
In 1977 fish wholesaler Lee Lantz took “patagoniantoothfish” and renamed it “Chilean sea bass (I believe)” because he knew no onewould have toothfish for dinner.
So, when people come to associate certainideas with certain words, it’s useful to come up with new words that evoke a more pleasantreaction.
For example, a hospital may think that youwouldn’t react to well to hearing that a catastrophic blunder killed your wife andchild during a Cesarean delivery.
So, it’s better to describe the anaesthesiologisthaving turned the wrong knob and giving the mother a fatal dose of nitrous oxide as a“therapeutic misadventure.
” At least, St.
Mary’s Hospital in Minneapolisin 1982 thought this wording would be better.
“Three weeks ago in Los Angeles, the surgeonskilled a patient.
In a series of incidents that the pathologistcalled ‘incredible stupidity and incompetence, ’ it included slitting the patient’s throatduring surgery – this was called a therapeutic misadventure.
” William Lutz says the second kind of doublespeakis jargon – the specialized language of a trade or profession.
It is useful and necessary to know jargonto communicate within your field, but whether it is doublespeak depends on where you useit.
For example describing your computer keyboardkey to your friend as a Catastrophically Buckling Compression ColumnSwitch and Actuator “Huh?” is unnecessary, but is an appropriate descriptorto use in a patent.
After giving President Reagan a routine physicalexamination, Dr.
Daniel Ruge said that “previously documented decrement in auditory acuity andvisual refractive error corrected with contact lenses were evaluated and found to be stable.
” “Wha?” That sounds a lot more impressive than sayingthe president’s hearing and eyesight haven’t changed since his last exam.
“Where is the organoleptically detectableLAMB SAUCE?” And finally, William Lutz says the 3rd typeof doublespeak is gobbledygook or bureaucratese.
Basically, such doublespeak is a matter ofpiling on words, of overwhelming the audience with words.
There are plenty of examples of politiciansusing bureaucratese when forced to comment on something they don’t want to commenton, but a good example is NASA’s ex-associate administrator Jesse Moore’s performancein terms of the lexicon he was operating under.
After the 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, Jesse Moore was asked if the performance of the shuttle program had improved with eachlaunch, he answered, “I think our performance in terms of the liftoffperformance and in terms of the orbital performance, we knew more about the envelope we were operatingunder, and we have been pretty accurately staying in that.
And so I would say the performance has notby design drastically improved.
I think we have been able to characterizethe performance more as a function of our launch experience as opposed to it improvingas a function of time.
” “Juh?” Pretty much everyone will at some point willdress up facts in some kind of way, even in our day to day lives.
People use doublespeak because .
from a youngage we learn that consequences exist.
“So tell me, Did you eat the chocolate cake?” “No Mommy.
” Just because someone is using doublespeakdoesn’t make them a crook, but when you don’t quite understand what’s being saidabout something important to you, it’s good to ask “what exactly is this person saying?” For example you might be looking into investingand come across words like “subprime mortgage” or “collateralized debt obligation” – itwould be good to clarify for yourself specifically what that means.
“So banks started filling these bonds withriskier and riskier mortgages.
By the way, these risky mortgages are calledsubprime, so whenever you hear subprime, think sheet.
” “So mortgage bonds are dogsheet.
CDO's are dogsheet wrapped in catsheet?” “Yea that's right.
” And something I’ve been wondering lately- what does detox mean? It seems there’s hundreds of products promisingto “detox” your body, but what exactly is being detoxed? Cadmium or Mercury? Reactive Oxygen Species? Benzene? Wouldn’t it be nice to know which toxinsare being detoxified by which product so I could make sure to drink this when I’m takingway too much aspirin or take this for my excessive use of BHT containing cosmetics.
Maybe this “detox tea” product could helpme detoxify metals or PCBs or something like that, but I wouldn’t know because all Icould find about the ingredients is that they “are time proven to help your body withthe detoxifying process.
” “What the hell are you talking about?”.