November 23, 2021

DISPATCHES FROM THE NEWSPEAK DICTIONARY: Policing, journalism experts caution use of ‘looting’ in describing rash of Bay Area smash and grabs.

Similar crimes hit Hayward and Walnut Creek this weekend with waves of suspects rushing stores leading to major losses.

But according to the California Penal Code, what we saw was not looting.

The penal code defines looting as “theft or burglary…during a ‘state of emergency’, ‘local emergency’, or ‘evacuation order’ resulting from an earthquake, fire, flood, riot or other natural or manmade disaster.”

To some, the distinction may be small, but Lorenzo Boyd, PhD, Professor of Criminal Justice & Community Policing at the University of New Haven, and a retired veteran police officer, emphasized that words matter.

“Looting is a term that we typically use when people of color or urban dwellers are doing something. We tend not to use that term for other people when they do the exact same thing,” said Boyd.

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed, will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidily defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we’re not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It’s merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak,” he added with a sort of mystical satisfaction. “Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?”

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