American Newspeak

As A Lifestyle


prize quote comes from former


editor Michael Hirsch in the November issue of

Foreign Affairs

“U.S. Allies must accept that some U.S. unilateralism is inevitable,
even desireable. This mainly involves accepting the reality of Americas
supreme might—and truthfully, appreciating how historically
lucky they are to be protected by such a relatively benign power.”
This raises some issues of ettiquete for those under our benign
protection. When a foreign official calls our President a moron,
as did Canada’s Franoise Ducros, firing them from their post
is overdoing it. I should think a little caning would be sufficient.

Cockburn, 11/21/02

The System Works


creation of a Homeland Security Department and recent court rulings
easing restrictions on surveillance has Civil Liberties groups all
flustered. What they forget is the government has safeguards to
see that domestic spying doesn’t get out of hand. Yes, there
is an official spy court that reviews all applications. For example,
last year the Surveillance Court of Review received 935 applications
for wiretaps and approved 934, which leaves one they rejected. That’s
a much better record  than the old KGB in Russia.


Bomb Sites


National Geographic survey found that only 13 percent of Americans
between the ages of 18 and 24 could identify Iraq on a map. The
good news, after a year-long war in Afganistan, a whopping 17 percent
of young people could identitfy that country. Even better, a much
larger number were able to identify the Marquesa Islands, of all
places. Apparently they’d been featured on the TV show the
“Survivors,” which points to the obvious solution to our
nations educational problems.


, 11/21/02

Logo Nation


company called Government Acquisitions LLC in Charlotte, North Carolina,
has been selling advertising space on police cars. So far 20 towns
have signed up for the service. Lots of people are making fun of
the idea, imagining Victoria Secret or Viagra ads on police cars.
Personally I like the idea. Can’t you just picture police in
the future stopping you and announcing, Hi, your speeding ticket
is brought to you by Nike, the leader in sportswear.


Yuppie Anxiety


upwardly mobile parents are struggling to get their children into
the right preschools, seen as feeders to elite kindergartens. Competition
is so fierce for the few openings in New York city’s trendy
preschools that they now admit only 1 out of every 15 applicants.
Fortunately there is a very fair selection process. Said spokesperson
Alix Friedman of the prestigious 92nd Street Y Preschool, “Every
single child goes through the same careful, thoughtful admissions
process.” That thoughtfulness is encouraged by an additional
$20,000 donation.


United Cornflakes


far has advertising penetrated our political thought? Recently the
European Union has been looking at possible new names, including
“the United States of Europe.” Valry Giscard d’Estaing,
the former president of France, announced that “we need a name,
which gets across our brand.” It’s a relief to know European
politicians are beginning to grasp the nuances of American political



Grytting is the author of

American Newspeak: The Mangling
of Meaning for Power and Profit

. He also provides commentary on
KEPX-FM in Seattle.