Monday, 25 June 2012

Play on words and word games

The other night my aippakuluk and I watched a very interesting movie called, Catch a Fire, about Apartheid-era South Africa starring Derek Luke and Tim Robbins. This got me thinking about jingoism and other word games that comprise a large part of the arsenal of ideologically driven governments and resource-extraction corporations.

The main character starts out as a person who avoids politics and keeps his head down deliberately because he just wants to make a good living for his family. But he catches the attention of the "anti-terrorist" agency because of a botched attack on the oil/mining (its a bit ambiguious in the movie) where he works.

Anyhoo, the movie got me thinking about branding and labelling techniques used by a ruling party such as CPC to divert attention from questionable policies and practices and to spread responsibility around by appealling to personal and family safety with well-chosen words.

In the movie, ANC political officers keep telling their operatives that they aren't to kill indiscriminantly in carrying out their sabotage operations. The other side calls them terrorists. This sounds very familiar, doesn't it?

Anything that is perceived to be unkind to the oil industry in Canada is now painted as "terrorist" activity or "foreign" interference while regressive actions taken by Harper's government have to do with "sound" economic development policies or finding "efficiencies" where they actually hurt Canadians or gut out government programs (else we end up like Greece if we want to keep our social safety-nets to help the poor and the disenfranchised, though billions of tax-payers' money is spent on corporate welfare with nary an unkind word for these parasites).


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