Society for Creative Acronyms

I can’t really pinpoint when this happened, but at some point in the last 20 years or so I think there was a fundamental change in how people receive/digest their news and information. I don’t know if it began by people calling out for more basic ideas in smaller pieces, or if instead the news outlets decided that the information they were feeding us was just too complicated and needed to be dumbed down for the good of society. I would say this is happening worldwide, but to a greater extent here in the US.

The obvious result is that news is in fact faster. It’s broken into such small portions that we can fit it into our faster-paced lives. The downside of smaller news and busier lives though, is that it’s easier to get duped. One of the best examples of this I can find is in the creative naming of committees, organizations, and even bills. This happens all over the place today. The Church of Scientology’s front-group against psychology is called the Citizens Commission on Human Rights. Individuals opposed to abortion are called Pro-Life, leaving any opposition to be obviously anti-life. Clean coal is the new term thrown around in energy circles to remake coal burning into a competitive energy source in today’s environmentally focused world. The reality is that coal burning could be made more clean, but little has been done so far to fully research and use CCT. Instead the Bush administration just uses the term clean coal to whitewash the issue.

George Lakoff discusses linguistics use in the political world of today in Don’t Think of an Elephant. This is a very interesting read, even given it’s obvious tilt towards criticizing conservatives for their more successful use of language and terminology to win debates and elections.

What’s your favorite pseudoantonym today?


~ by nhak on October 3, 2006.

2 Responses to “Society for Creative Acronyms”

  1. Good post. I think I have more to say, but I’m not quite sure how to say it.

  2. Shit, now I have something else to add to my reading list. Thanks a lot, Nick.

    My favorite is another Scientology one. They actually took over the Cult Awareness Network. It’s about the same as if Phillip Morris took over the Heart and Lung Association.

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