Thursday, July 08, 2010

A refreshingly good book

I'm only about a third of a way through with Steven Poole's Unspeak, but I am going to go ahead and recommend reading it. With concise, razor like intellectual clarity, Poole goes about analyzing some of the most common and prevalent "unspeak" - language that is designed to smuggle in a viewpoint without having to argue it - of our times.

Given current events, with BP and the federal government working to censor journalists from covering the disastrous results of their incestuous collusion; and despite BP having recently catastrophically damaged the Gulf Coast ecology, a continuance of BP's history of safety negligence, just having received an EPA waiver to dump more pollution into Lake Michigan, I'll quote this excerpt from the book:

The idea that everything is now subordinate to what ‘capital’ wants to ‘see’ is not merely an idée fixe of paranoid anti-globalisation protesters, but stated clearly in public by those who minister officially to capital’s desires. Back in the US, George W. Bush declared: ‘We need to reform our legal systems so the people, on the one hand, can get justice; on the other hand, the justice system doesn’t affect the flows of capital.’ First a hasty sop to liberals – acknowledging that, sure, people should still be able to ‘get’ justice, just as they pop down to the store to get a can of soda – and then the remarkable notion that justice, on the other hand, should never interfere with the operations of money. So justice is a subeconomy within the larger one (you can ‘get’ justice), but it has no right to interfere with overarching systems of profit. Justice is subordinate to and dependent on capitalism

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