Monday, October 10, 2011

Political language (3)

Recently we discussed two types of political language: the pompous euphemism and the deceptive name. Another type of political language is the unexplained slogan; a good example is, “If You See Something, Say Something,” a trademarked slogan discussed in a recent press release issued by Janet Napolitano, head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Nowhere in its 500-word press release does the U.S. Department of Homeland Security bother to explain what it means by “see something.” In response to this vagueness, a blogger has written a humorous essay about a few suspicious “somethings” that he has noticed about Janet Napolitano, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Ben Bernanke, Barack Obama, and other politicians.

The Takeaway: If you use a slogan without explaining it, your readers may respond in unexpected ways. To be better understood, explain your slogan in specific language.

See disclaimer.

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