Wow, this Washington Post headline could just as easily have been written on May 24 1939 as it was today:
And while we’re in a continental sort of mood, Theodore Dalrymple hands out his first Brezhnev Prize for the most obfuscating European politician ever:
Langue de bois is the French term for the special language that was spoken and written by Communist leaders and functionaries. It is hard to define but easy to recognize. It is simultaneously high-flown and supremely dull; it never descends to particulars; it confuses abstract aspiration with actual achievement; it is terminally humorless; it disguises obvious lies, and tries to preclude any opposition, by resort to pompous moral banalities and abstractions. It acts almost instantly on the mind as a general anesthetic, but without the soothing element of sleep.
It did not disappear with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Politicians are by nature inclined to use it when in a tight corner, as are bureaucrats and senior executives. But in my opinion, this year’s Brezhnev Prize for langue de bois ought to be awarded forthwith to Dr. Bernard Kouchner, France’s foreign minister (and one of the founders of Medecins Sans Frontieres), for his article “For Greece, for Europe.” It was published in the French newspaper Liberation on May 10.
The question that arises as soon as one starts to read is whether the words used in it correspond to any actual thoughts. Is there anyone who, within the fastness of his own skull, actually thinks like this? Or is it all merely a performance, an act? I think it must be the latter; if the former, only a Frankenstein’s monster would not go mad with boredom with his own cerebration.
On Friday, I cobbled together the thumbnail that accompanies the piece on the PJM homepage:
For better or worse, fear of Orwellian crimethink violating the humorless tenets of political correctness caused me to talk myself out of my first choice, though:
And speaking of Frankfurt School-style political correctness, and its most prominent perpetual student-practitioner, to see how far America has traveled backwards culturally since 1939, don’t miss the juxtaposition of these two photos in a post on Ace’s blog.
Related: As Mark Steyn wrote in 2005, “Twenty years ago, the then Secretary of State George Schultz used to welcome the Reagan administration’s ambassadorial appointments to his office and invite each chap to identify his country on the map:”
The guy who’d just landed the embassy in Chad would invariably point to Chad. ‘No,’ Schultz would say, ‘this is your country’ — and point to the United States. Nobody would expect a US ambassador to the Soviet Union to be a big booster for the Soviets. And, given that in a unipolar world the most plausible challenger to the US is transnationalism, these days the Schultz test is even more pertinent for the UN ambassador: his country is the United States, not the ersatz jurisdiction of Kofi Annan’s embryo world government.
Based on this post by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, I’d say Joe Biden just flunked the Schultz Test, big time.