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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Double Speak


‘I am so happy to see you, after such a long time, Madhu’ Shiela said, as she hugged her.

 ‘Me too’ Madhu replied, with a huge grin trying to hide her true emotions, as she embraced Shiela. The hug lacked the warmth and even the friendly touch was amiss!

 How often, do we really mean what we say? This is a fine art which when indulged in with sophistication and finesse is not even evident to an onlooker!! There are some people we genuinely like and meet them in a normal manner with the usual greetings and warmth!

Then there are some with who we are just on hello/hi terms and we greet them in a formal manner. The examples are in abundance, like P3 personalities, who give a hug, kiss in air and move on. Also, in places of work there are many we are familiar with but not very close, so just a hello and smile works. There is yet another category of people whom we detest and still we cannot avoid them. The reaction could vary from a curt greeting, to total avoidance, or worst ignoring their presence!!

 Some people have a habit of constantly talking ill about others and are blessed with all the negative traits, like scowling, making faces and acidic tongue which lashes mercilessly. When they find companions of similar traits, it is a bonanza to witness the discussions as a bystander. No wonder birds of similar feather flock together!!

As we have to deal with all kinds of people all the time and not all are familiar ones, it could sometimes be difficult to comprehend how one would react. Treading with caution is perhaps the best approach when sailing on uncharted ground and being politically correct, when reacting. When dealing with known devils,  the Chanakya niti (principle) works the best of Sam*(treat as equal), Dam*(Bribe if required), Dand*(punish), Bhed*( keeping one guessing about intent).

According to Chanakya, a person should not be too straight as the straight trees are cut first and honest people are screwed first. Machiavelli, the genius politician and author of ‘The Prince’ believed that the rulers must maintain a separate set of public and private morality to rule well. He believed that besides ethics it was necessary sometimes to use brute force as well as deceit. Most of the rulers who have ruled the world have known these axioms well. Everywhere in the world those in seat of power indulge in this with impunity! Nevertheless with the reach of technology and media, those in developed world see more rationale in running their country compared to those nations still taking baby steps forward, tumbling often, rising and learning to find their feet.

Another interesting historical fact is the origin of double speak is still unknown but best known recorded theory emerges from George Orwell’s classic ‘Nineteen Eighty Four’. Due to the deceptive nature of Double Speak, it is often linked to the ‘Conflict Theory’. The ‘bourgeoisie’ or the ruling class often indulge in the art of double speak, so as to stand apart from the working class. This laid the foundation of the Theory of Communism’ by Karl Marx, propounded against the evil of capitalist exploitation. There are enough evidence of media propaganda indulged by news and print media which indicate the double standards of reporting, manipulation of news and double speak. German Nazi Party member Joseph Goebbels became Adolf Hitler's propaganda minister, which gave him power over all German media. His most virulent propaganda was against the Jews. As a compelling orator he was next only to Hitler. Utterly disparaging he believed only in the self-justification of power. He remained loyal to Hitler until the end.

 Finally some examples of humorous usage of double speak in day to day life are as follows:

  • "Using the facilities" instead of going to the bathroom
  • "Reducing costs" as opposed to cutting peoples' salaries or the amount of supplies going into work
  • "Capital punishment" instead of the death penalty
  • "Ethnic cleansing" instead of genocide
  • "Gone to the Lord" instead of died
PS 1. *- Hindi words with translation in English in brackets

      2.  Image Kind courtesy Google

      3. I wish all readers a Merry X Mas and a Happy New Year

74 comments:

  1. Yes, yes, yes,I totally agree with you. I don't know why even when some people are really genuine, it freaks me out to return a kiss in the air.
    Now some of them are very close friends and there is nothing artificial about their greeting, yet,I often feel why can't they just say 'Hi'. I feel it is quite normal among Christians as they have been brought up to greet people like that.
    We South Indians, especially TamBrams are very finiky, it doesn't come easily to us to respond accordingly.
    And, of course bathrooms are often referred to as restrooms in some countries.
    And the same goes for people posting comments on blogs: the person thinks he/ she has done his/her duty, but the receiver of the comments knows very well that the person has not even read/ understood the blog and has just written a comment because he/ she thinks it is an obligation.
    How superficial can one be is the question.

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    1. Rama thank you for a heart felt comment and among other things you highlighted the hypocrisy in blogging too:) Could'nt agree more! Wish you and your family a merry X Mas and a Happy New Year!!

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  2. a vry plausible point, Sir..!
    sometimes i feel that the older someone gets,the cynical he/she becomes..
    .....
    n merry x-mas to you too..:) :) :) :)

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    1. Thanks a lot Jemina! I can assure you that I am not being cynical but have written based on what I see:)

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  3. We are many different people.. Norwegians are often like "everything is just fine", they dont mean what they say, but they do think they lye...

    Merry Christmas!:-)

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    1. Thank you, Tania! I know people in Norway are very warm hearted:) Merry X Mas to you too!!

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    1. So nice that you agree with me Izdiher:) Happy New Year to you!

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    1. A big thanks Francesca and Merry X mas to you too:)

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  6. Sometimes we just have to behave the way we do not want, this happens so frequently in our day to day life..
    A nice post.. This one actually makes you think what people meant, when they say a few things which have double meanings..
    The most apt is below
    "Reducing costs" as opposed to cutting peoples' salaries or the amount of supplies going into work

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    1. Oh a big thanks, Manjulika and it feels good someone working in similar environment thinks likewise:)

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  7. I like to say what I mean and mean what I say, but it's not always possible in society.

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    1. Not difficult to guess that you mean what you say as evident from your posts which are a delight:)

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  8. Very insightful, I was not aware of few things here. What you told about maintain two approaches for ruler makes a lot of sense.

    Happy Holidays to you and your family Sir.

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    1. So happy that you found the facts interesting Saru! I too wish you and Alok a merry X Mas and a very happy and rewarding New Year:)

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  9. That was wonderfully written. Lot of knowledge and wisdom in those words of yours. Lovely and insightful write up on this interesting topic and as usual with lots of depth. This act of double speak is so common place and something we see around us but it also has a historical and social significance as well.

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    1. A huge thanks Raj for that lovely comment and am happy that you enjoyed the read! Wish you a Happy New Year!

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  10. You have covered almost all kinds of peple...:-) we only have to find the right ones and keep going. We can't change the ways of the world.btw, I got your wishes..thanks a lot..we had lot of fun for christmas....:-)

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    1. Bang on, Latha! Falling in right company is so important:) It was really nice to learn that you had lovely Christmas! Hope you and your family have a great New Year ahead:)

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  11. Very true Rahul. But today it is more of rudeness than civility that is seen, in the name of 'honesty.' And offence is the best form of defence. Our reality shows reflect this amply or do we take cues from them in real life?

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    1. Zephyr, it is a treat to read your views which are a blend of profound knowledge and great sense of observation! Hope you will continue to enlighten me with wisdom in the ensuing year too! Wish you and your family a great and enjoyable New Year!

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  12. "Double Speak" ah what a sensitive topic to write about and sure every read connects with this, I liked the references and the detailing for this topic in the post. :) Fantastic post on such a topic :D Rahul sir liked it!

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    1. Thanks a lot Ramya for your very kind comment! I know you are not DS now:)

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  13. Cant agree more! Double Speak sometimes is very funny! Once, one of the acquaintances said ...
    Anything that cannot have a driving license instead of non-veg ... and I wondered he ate kids too!!!

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  14. Double Standards of morality have maintained their reign throughout. Undoubtedly, like you've quoted Machiavelli, people have considered maintaining double standards as a royal pride. In fact, truism to one side was seen as often disowned.. people like Aurangzeb got cut down from the better pursuits as he was one of the biggest failures to diplomacy.
    The problem is, people fail to understand, where to draw the line. There's a limit to everything, even to maintaining double standards.
    Often, this becomes more than just a problem. Doesn't really mean truism to one side is the solution.
    Nevermind, we're all ultimately sailing in the same boat.
    Wish you a Merry Christmas! Take Care :)

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    1. That was a nice commentary on this humble post!True, it is difficult to change the ways of the world overnite but with the changes in lifestyles and technological revolution some things stand to change for better! Merry X Mas and a Very Happy New Year to you too!!

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  15. Merry Christmas to your and your family dear Rahul.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. Merry X Mas and a Happy New Year to you and your family too, Dianne:)

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  16. A fabulous topic, well presented Rahul, we keep observing doulble standards around us and when we refuse to be part of it, we are criticized as alien! My experience..
    Wishing you and your family a great year ahead!

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    1. Thank you Padmaja and agree with what you say:) Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year too!

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    1. Merry X Mas and a Happy New Year, Alessia!

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  18. Very aptly titled, Rahul. Yes, there are lots of people like that, who say one thing and mean another. I know quite a few like that :)

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    1. We see this everywher all the time, Rachna! Merry X Mas and a Happy New Year to you!

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  19. Double standards are the order of the day :( Very well written.
    Merry Christmas and Happy new Year :) Let us spread the cheer!

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    1. Agree Akanksha, let us spread the cheer and thanks for your comment! Merry Christmas and a fun filled New Year to you too:)

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  20. I do wonder who created euphemisms that we use in 'polite' society. On a quest for authenticity, I find doublespeak intolerable too!

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    1. You said it Corinne 'qust for authenticity':) Thank you and Merry X Mas and a Happy New Year!

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  21. I just realized how Proletariat I am. What goes in my mind comes out of my mouth, verbatim.

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    1. Purba what goes in your mind comes out beautifully in your writing too whether it is annoyance or dig or humor... big list!! Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year:)

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  22. too interesting and true

    happy newyear

    thanks

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    1. Thank you Krishna! Happy New Year to you as well

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  23. Completely agree! Those double standards can’t stay peacefully. I learn something from the history through this post.

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    1. Thanks Jeevan! Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

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  24. All sorts of people in this world.. what makes me mad is why are some people more interested in what you are doing, rather than concentrating on what they are upto..

    what you have written is so true and its not difficult to find such people they are all over and maybe WE ourself are the same to someone else ..

    Bikram's

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    1. Bikram am sure what you say is true that others view us also the same way as we view others!

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  25. I have a cousin who is very artificial when it comes to fake banal comments.....".ooh I was just thinking about you but I can't come cause my son has got the runs ( upset stomach)."

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    1. Good one, Alka and am sure all of us have seen enough of these instances to relate to them!Wish you and your family a funfilled year ahead bringing lots of happiness:)

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  26. Very true, Rahul! Honesty indeed can land you in trouble sometimes; I've personally experienced it. I also find it awkward when someone I am not close to tries to act very familiar. Somehow, I take a step back and cannot reciprocate.

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    1. Rachna you have maturity way beyond many of us and clarity of thought too and it is a pleasure to see your comment each time! Wish you and your family a lovely New Year:) BTW your new post continues to elude me and is still Invisible!!

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  27. So true, so apt to the world around me.

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    1. Ha Ha Shreya, for a change you could relate to this post so easily:) Wish you a great year ahead!

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  28. all I can do is nod my head and agree to every word you have written:)

    Happy new year!

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    1. So nice to know you agree verbatim, Ramya:)Wish you a lovely New Year too!!

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  29. Rahul just imagine-with so many kisses in the air the atmosphere becomes very congenial---no?

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    1. Honestly, I love to see the kisses fly both in air and land on some cheeks too as long as they are genuine and not a facade, Indu!! Wish you a very Happy New Year!

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  30. I agree with you, Rahul. Well written.

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  31. Great topic Rahul, I think we all play a part of double speak everyday in our own lives. I found myself in complete agreement to the line ' How often, do we really mean what we say?'.... I find that certain things that are verbalized amongst people are only done so due to formalities or duty. There is often no meaning or emotion behind it. On your vital examples of double speak... I think we use some of these terms more as euphemisms, to avoid saying things 'exactly or harshly' as they are.

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    1. Sam, double speak which does not harm anyone is socially OK but the one intended to inflict damage is the worst kind~

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  32. true...
    most of us live behind a mask of lie, or altered truth....or speak the truth and live as unsocial beings...

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    1. Altered truth, you said it Sub!! Many times one is required to double speak to be politically correct!! Best wishes to you and your family on the New Year!

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  33. Interesting post. Some people make a living out of deceit and others out of double speak. Hugs and kisses to everyone...Friends to all, loyal to none

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    1. Ha Ha... nice observation!! Best wishes for the New Year!!

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  34. Yes, I would prefer to avoid talking with people whom I dont get along with or restrict myself to a minimum conversation with them, rather than pretend to speak lovingly with them and later bitch about them . But sometimes I understand that it becomes difficult when the person you hate is like your boss or colleague who decides how your appraisal based on your personal equation with them.

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    1. Thanks Ashwini, I can guess you are simpleton and would hate to double speak:) Best wishes to you for all happiness in the New Year!

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  35. A thoughtful post, Rahul. To mean what you say and say what you mean is easy when you are young till you realise people probably think you naive. It is at that juncture that your moral character decides whether you'll learn double speak, stubbornly continue as before or say things tactfully and develop your listening skills. Either way, it is at that juncture you start growing up.

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  36. I understand your viewpoint,KayEm and real learning begins with listening and acting accordingly!

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