Sunday, July 08, 2007

Euphemism as Demonic

[Blogger continues to fail to accept standard titles.]

Today is Sunday, 8 July 2007.

It is a twisted usage which my mentor, Karl Kraus, would have appreciated and condemned.

From an article in today’s The New York Times, titled “Key Suspects Are Likely to Be Men in Jeep at Glasgow Airport”, by Serge F. Kovaleski and Alan Cowell, [they may not be responsible for the usage, given the meddling of editors] the following excerpt:

“… described by an acquaintance as angry over the United States and British presence [HH’s italics] in Iraq …”


As in “the presence of Hitler’s Nazi armies in Poland, Russia, etc.”, or “the presence of the Soviet Union’s army of occupation in Czechoslovakia in 1968”?

Presence” being defined, in Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, as “the fact or condition of being present”.

True, in some far-fetched, highly technical sense, that an army of conquest and colonial annexation is “being present”.

As in, “the presence of US Army troops at the massacre of Native Americans at Wounded Knee”.

As in, “the presence of SS troops at the extermination of Jews at Auschwitz”.

Appropriately, today is the date in 1822 when poet Percy B. Shelley drowned.

Herewith, two quotes:

"Man has no right to kill his brother. It is no excuse that he does so in uniform: he only adds the infamy of servitude to the crime of murder."

"A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own."


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