Chalk up another one for the forces of Englessh – the process whereby words take on an ever narrower meaning.
Latest exhibit, from Frank Bruni’s Sunday New York Times column about Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform:
Moments earlier, when he had asked a server about the breakfast options and was directed to a menu right in front of him, he proclaimed, “Oh, it’s written down! Unlike the Gang of Six proposal.” He was against that — it included revenue — and wasn’t about to miss a chance to say so, even this oddly incongruent opportunity.
It included revenue, which has been reduced to meaning “taxes.” It’s something beyond shorthand – more like shrinkhand – similar to “healthcare” meaning healthcare reform.
And it’s not just politicians employing Englessh. TV meteorologists routinely say “we’ll have some weather arriving on Thursday.” No – we always have weather. You Dopplernauts just don’t think good weather counts.
There are other examples, although the hardworking staff can’t think of any right now. Suggestions, splendid readers?
Meanwhile, we’ll try to get Englessh added to the list of infractions we think should be subject to a SYNtax – a fine for misuse of the English language. At a quarter a pop, that could wipe out the deficit in no time.
Of course, that would involve revenue, so don’t hold your breath.