Michelle Moyd and Yukila Komska explain how Trump is changing our language and why we need a new vocabulary of resistance. [The Guardian, 1-17-17]
“… In his 1947 book Language of the Third Reich, Viktor Klemperer, a German-Jewish philologist, chronicled the way in which fascism had changed the German tongue. All around him tainted officials were being fired, streets renamed, libraries purged. But this language had become so entrenched as to appear indelible. Not the hate-filled speeches, Klemperer felt, that were Hitler’s surest propaganda weapon, but “the individual words, the expressions, the formulations” repeated ad nauseam for citizens to adopt and pass on, mindlessly.
“… Resistance, then, needs and breeds a language: this much was obvious to the German clear-cutters, decolonization activists the world over or Soviet-bloc dissidents. But it has yet to dawn on Donald Trump’s opponents. Trump’s language – redundant, formulaic, aggressive, “post-literate” – is everywhere. It garners wide publicity and even merits theoretical treatments. The language of resistance, by contrast, doesn’t exist. … “