Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Newspeak translator

Here's Michelle Malkin writing in Newspeak:

"I wrote a book defending Roosevelt's evacuation and relocation measures during WWII"

Now here's what that sentence would like in English:

"I wrote a book defending Roosevelt's placement of Japanese Americans in concentration camps during WWII"

See the difference?


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your posts and comments over at GG's. I will try to visit you here more often. I tend to be a creature of habit wrt to blogs and not to adventurous.

The ubiquitous anonymous

Hume's Ghost said...

Thanks, I appreciate that.

Alan said...

I would probably be more comfortable with the term "internment camp" rather than "concentration camp". While, technically correct, the term "concentration camp" has taken on rather notorious connotations post WWII and among the general population is often thought of synonymously with the Nazi death camps. (Wikipedia acknowledges the colloquial synonymous use).

Therefore, though correct, the use of "concentration camp" in your translation may make the statement a bit more inflammatory than intended.

It may seem as though you are invoking a moral equivalency to the Nazi death camps when you are not.

Hume's Ghost said...

That's true, and were I writing something academic I might likely use "internment" as a neutral term.

But if we're talking Newspeak, it's difficult to imagine that Orwell would call a concentration camp anything other than a concentration camp.

Anonymous said...

The Random House Dictionary defines the term "concentration camp" as: "a guarded compound for the detention or imprisonment of aliens, members of ethnic minorities, political opponents, etc.". 'Internment camp' may seem more neutral and baptized, but is ultimately less accurate.

Anonymous said...

There's a very important distinction (with a difference) between a concentration camp and an internment camp.

"Concentration camp" evokes images of Auschwitz and the hundreds of other German death camps.

"Internment camp" describes a temporary situation that, however uncomfortable the experience may be (and too often is), results in freedom (not death) for those in the imprisoned group.

Roosevelt's rounding up of Japanese Americans was despicable, but they were not put into death camps.

According to your distinction-blurring interpretation, German Americans loyal to the German fascists were put in "concentration camps" too.

But in the American camps, there were no gas chambers or ovens processing "undesirable parasites".