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More Politics and the English Language

posted: 10.24.11 by archived

My post last week found me apologizing for coming off a bit like the language police, and for delivering the post from a soapbox. Yet I really do care about the politics and the ethics of language choices, and so I hope that the post was received in this spirit of engagement.

I also want to extend some of that discussion, and link it to the NCTE Orwell and Doublespeak Awards. I sit on the nominating committee for these awards, and I want to ask you today for your nominations, which I will then take to the committee.

The Orwell Award for a Distinguished
 Contribution to Honesty and Clarity in Public Language “recognizes writers who have made outstanding contributions to the critical analysis of public discourse.” The Doublespeak Award “is an ironic tribute to public speakers who have perpetuated language that is grossly deceptive, evasive, euphemistic, confusing, or self-centered.”

In the past year, who do you think has done the most to advance honesty and clarity in public discourse? And who has done the most to impede and obscure?

These awards have been around since 1974. Recent winners of the Orwell include Michael Pollan, Jon Stewart, Seymour Hersh, and Arundhati Roy.

Recent winners of the Doublespeak include Glenn Beck, the Tobacco Industry, and (twice) George W. Bush.

If there are individuals you think should be nominated, please let me know by posting a comment.

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Categories: Jay Dolmage, Uncategorized
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