Politics And The English Language
Not surprisingly, Van Jones' name went down the memory hole at warp speed with the obsequious White House press corps. But responding to John McWorter's defense of Trutherism at the once distinguished New Republic (which has only recently gotten over the Scott Beauchamp incident), Rich Lowry writes:
It's fun to watch liberal bloggers and publications now declare trutherism practically a mainstream Democratic belief for which Van Jones didn't deserve to be defenestrated. Besides The Nation and that McWhorter piece in TNR, here's Firedoglake founder Jane Hamsher (h/t JustOneMinute):Now he's been thrown under the bus by the White House for signing his name to a petition expressing something that 35% of all Democrats believed as of 2007 — that George Bush knew in advance about the attacks of 9/11.
In early 2003, James Lileks wrote:
Nowadays, if you point out that someone's a Communist, you might well be accused of - dum dum DUMMMM - McCarthyism. The term has morphed from its original meaning. It no longer means falsely accusing someone of being a Communist. It now includes correctly identifying someone as a Communist, or ascribing a taint to someone because they don't reject the Communists in their midst. (I'll admit there's a significant difference between the two.)
Two or three years later, the left turned the phrase "Swift Vets" into a perjorative, as if a future senator and presidential candidate never slandered American troops in front of a Senate committee in 1971. Today, Andy MacCarthy writes that the word "smear" is now morphing as well:
Didn't that used to mean falsely accusing someone of saying or doing something awful — something he did not say or do?
I'm reading the Truther Van "smear" protests and I keep looking for the one that says, "He never said that," or "He never signed that," or "That audio-tape is phony." So far, none of that. Instead we are getting "What's a little harmless 9/11 truther jibber-jabber among Mumia fans?"
When Ted Kennedy said Bob Bork wanted to drive women to back-alley abortions and black kids to segregated lunch counters, that wasn't true. Does that distinction matter anymore?
"What is Truth?" the first postmodernist asked.
Update: Newsweek is also surprisingly cool with Truthers, or at least the mindset behind them.