Ed Driscoll

Meanwhile, Over at the Ministry of Truth

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

Really hard to imagine why MSNBC is failing so horribly in the ratings with top-tier talent like this.

Attorney General Eric Holder on Sunday refused an unusual request during an interview, declining to quack like a duck.

At the end of an interview that touched on the Voting Rights Act and use of force by police, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry asked the outgoing Justice Department head to imitate a duck.

“You know, we call you ‘The Duck’ in nerdland,” Harris-Perry said, referring to fans of her show.

“The duck?” Holder asked.

“We call you the duck.”

“We say you have a very sort of placid and even way of presenting, but you are just working for justice underneath,” Harris-Perry explained as Holder stroked his mustache.

She moved her arms and head vigorously to describe the underwater movement.

“Would you quack for us?” she then asked.

“Well, I’m not sure I’m going to do that,” Holder replied, smiling.

— “MSNBC Kook Asks Eric Holder: ‘Would you quack for us?'”, the JammieWearingFools blog, today.

Duckspeak is a Newspeak term meaning literally to quack like a duck or to speak without thinking. Duckspeak can be either good or “ungood” (bad), depending on who is speaking, and whether what they are saying is in following with the ideals of Big Brother. To speak rubbish and lies may be ungood, but to speak rubbish and lies for the good of “The Party” may be good. In the appendix to 1984, Orwell explains:

“Ultimately it was hoped to make articulate speech issue from the larynx without involving the higher brain centres at all. This aim was frankly admitted in the Newspeak word duckspeak […]. Like various words in the B vocabulary, duckspeak was ambivalent in meaning. Provided that the opinions which were quacked out were orthodox ones, it implied nothing but praise, and when the Times referred to one of the orators of the Party as a doubleplusgood duckspeaker it was paying a warm and valued compliment.”

—Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four

An example of a skillful duckspeaker in action is provided in the beginning of chapter 9, in which an Inner Party speaker is haranguing the crowd about the crimes of Eurasia when a note is passed into his hand; he does not stop speaking for a moment, or change his voice or manner, but (according to the changed party line) he now condemns the crimes of Eastasia, which is Oceania’s new enemy.

“List of Newspeak words,” Wikipedia.com.

Incidentally, given MSNBC’s ratings abyss, Stacy McCain ponders just how far network president Phil Griffin is prepared to go to um, re-inflate things. And speaking of NBC’s crazy sister network, it’s always a fun exercise to scan otherwise interesting articles with headlines such as “The Decline and Fall of NBC News” and “Brian Williams has put NBC’s credibility on the line,” and then hit CTL-F and type “Sharpton” to discover that the left-leaning writer simply isn’t prepared to explore just how deep the rot has set in amongst the once respectable peacock network.

Related: Did Eric Holder ever really understand what his job was as Attorney General?

Update: Does the MSNBC interview strategy work for other members of the Obama administration?