Friday, October 10, 2008

Doing the Language a Disservice

[Aztec earth goddess Coatlicue]

In these last days of the election campaign we have as usual descended to the candidates questioning each other's patriotism. Obama it turns out is a Muslim and a friend of terrorists. McCain turns out not to be a war hero but a PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) head case.

It is easy to do because the vocabulary of the English language lends itself to doing it. It is harder to question someone's sensitivity to environmental issues than his patriotism because it is a vague polysyllablic phrase, where patriotism is a single seemingly well-defined word. Now if the candidates were to question each other's matriotism we could get a mud-slinging contest going on that issue, possibly involving actual mud.

matriotism, noun, singular. Origin: I made it up.
1. Love of Mother Earth, devotion to one's home planet,
2. Concern for the environment,
3. A nurturing attitude toward other people and the world generally
4. Worship of an earth goddess
5. New Age space cadet ideology - pejorative.

You heard it here first.

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