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Can freedom possible?

Graphical Bush syntax phenomenon

I’m still not blogging (though see this forum thread), but I do have a pretty picture for you. It’s a cloud of the 150 most common words in Unspeak the book, generated by the fabulous Wordle. Click for a larger image:

unspeak wordle

What do you think will be the biggest word in the cloud of my next book, readers?

  1. 1  linksawakening  July 3, 2008, 7:09 pm 


  2. 2  Dan R.  July 3, 2008, 9:09 pm 


    According to your spamtrap the word above was not a “meaningful comment” on its own, so I’m trying again.

  3. 3  Steven  July 4, 2008, 12:00 am 

    That’s much more meaningful, thank you.

    Other headlines in the cloud:

    “terror still new”

    “evil use simply civilians”

    “natural torture”

    “Blair really country”.

    The last is sort of terrifying.

    I can pretty much guarantee that neither “Melanie” nor “PWN3D” will be top in the next cloud. Any other ideas?

  4. 4  dj_davinci  July 4, 2008, 12:09 am 

    [censored by the management – SP]

  5. 5  Roger  July 4, 2008, 7:01 am 

    L’etat c’est Tony?

    I did this to my site and got “world shall love Lord” “Democracy makes White”, “Just mate women” and “Fuck Darwin”.

    If I fudge just a little I get “Poms making strange values”, “violence great religion thing”, and “everyone God terrorists”, which make more sense I think.

    What would Jung say?

  6. 6  William  July 4, 2008, 11:32 pm 

    I think the most common word in your new book will be “Kamm”, but I hope to Christ you’ll prove me wrong.

  7. 7  Roger  July 7, 2008, 9:46 am 


  8. 8  Andrew  July 8, 2008, 3:32 pm 

    The biggest word will be the new coinage by the Hypothetical World State ofthe existential state of the modern citizen: Guiltyuntilprovendead

  9. 9  hey zeus  July 8, 2008, 5:27 pm 

    I’ll thank you not to do that, Roger.
    Steven, i’d love to know what your next book will be concerning but i’ll happily bet a silver piece that the most used word will be ‘playstation’.
    i wish i wish it would be.

  10. 10  MeatWork  July 9, 2008, 3:38 am 

    I like the (centre right) headline in the cloud: “term cleansing”. Not a bad definition of Unspeak.

  11. 11  Liam  July 9, 2008, 11:12 am 

    I’m a fan of the far middle…er..west. The stammering:

    “Language indeed word”

  12. 12  i know not  August 7, 2008, 1:05 am 

    in the process of reading unspeak. bit of a challenge for me due to my education and age.there’s no’ll be read in due time.hope the next is as informative as the last. learning more from this book than government and economics courses. given i have no idea what you will write about i assume politics. you’re next title:know

  13. 13  Karl  August 14, 2008, 2:25 am 

    The next version of Unspeak has to look at what I call reverse spin, that is turning official Unspeak on its head to produce merely another version of the same. A classic example is the annoying platitude ‘One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist’.

    That might not be as popular as dissecting what is meant by ‘war on terror’ or ‘extraordinary rendition’ because those who are anti-Establishment tend to think it is only ‘them’ who use Unspeak.

    But John Pilger’s polemic is saturated with Unspeak but he seems to be some kind of saint like counter-cultural icon who is beyond being revealed as no less self-presentational and phoney as Hitchens.

    Comparing the position of British Muslims with German Jews, using the word ‘Crusaders’ for those who support ‘rapacious Western power’ and writing of ‘retaliation’ by ‘Muslims’ just really is not Unspeak for anything now is it ? How about looking at ‘respect’?

    Annoying also is that media whores like Galloway get off the hook by being ‘anti-war’ whilst treating every conflict as though it were a spectator sport. If Hitchens gets a rough ride here, why not Galloway ?

    Reverse spin can another aspect too. Some of it acts as retro-spin. Martin Jacques use of the term ‘systemic alternative’ when referring to the USSR.

    Not an alternative, of course, for those who lived under the Soviet system but just one that prevented the USA dominating the globe and so held out the implication, at least of something different ( like getting a sense of satisfaction that China is new ‘systemic alternative’ ).

    The Unspeak of such geopolitical projectors is matched by an array of curious terms that need to be questioned. Here are some below along with other annoying terms.

    “the Muslim world”-including Lebanon then. Often used by British Islamists.

    “Islamophobia”-compared with anti-Islamic, anti-Muslim or anti-Islamist. Nah, just conflate all three and accuse your opponent of being ‘neocon’ who will then call you an ‘appeaser’ who is soft on ‘jihadism’.Call them ‘crusaders’. Pilger uses it, so it must be OK.

    “Jihadi Islamist” ( Denis MacShane )-opposed to pacifist Islamist or a conflation of all Islamists with war.

    “Neocons”-sinister, often a cabal, and dialectically opposed to the left as represented by Seumas Milne who uses the word in the way Stalinists used ‘Fascist’. Milne wrote of ‘toxic neocon attack dogs’. Sounds like that fair minded jurist Comrade Vyshinsky. Always stress the second syllable ‘con’ for added emphasis.

    The “New” prefix. The Bush administration is ‘the New Third Reich’ and Condi Rice is another Ribbentrop according to Pilger. Funny, why not Molotov ? Perhaps, capitalist and imperialist states are more ‘Nazi’-like than the USSR.

    “New Cold War”. Both ‘neocons’ and some radical ‘anti-war’ writers have witnessed this new period unfolding. If you dislike NATO, then its expansion East caused it and, if you dislike Russia, then Putin’s sinister “Neo-Soviet” regime started it.

    “Neo-Soviet”-post-post Soviet, resurgent, rampant Russia trying to turn Georgia into the ‘Finland of today’, ie the Winter War, according to Zbiniew Brzezinski. No possibility of neutrality today. No ‘Finlandization’. The Baltics and Poland might be next.

    “appeasers”. Always bring up Czechoslovakia in 1938, Churchill, he was right about Bolshevism too, no different from Nazism, one huge seamless totalitarian threat including Russia, Islamists and/or Islamofascists. Appeasers are either cynical Tories who don’t care about foreigners or the guilt ridden liberal left

    “Leftists”-An inclination towards being politically on the left for mere sentimental reasons or because of some gut feeling. Unstable and have a tendency to drift into supporting Islamists. Then they become ‘post-leftist’ according to Alan Johnson

    “Zionist”-Fascists in reverse and who conceal it behind holocaust victimhood.

    “Holocaust”-as in Mike Davis’ ‘Late Victorian Holocaust’. At least contentious, I would have thought.

    “Politically Correct”-tends to have ‘gone mad’but always was

    “Victimised”-therefore virtuous and not open to criticism.

    “Spin doctor”-to cure that spin or ‘doctor’ as in to alter or manipulate. Since spin is inherently manipulative how can spin be spun or even unspun without spin. a doctor knows the right dose of spin and how to re-present reality.

    “Progressive” meaning desirable. What must progressives do to retain power. Neal Lawson of the Compass group, Fabians, and Demos

    “Third Way”-wasn’t mentioned in Unspeak.

  14. 14  Steven  August 14, 2008, 3:39 am 

    Yes it was!

  15. 15  Karl  August 14, 2008, 2:32 pm 

    Apologies, I wrote this late into the night. The ‘Third Way’ is mentioned on Page 230 in relation to the false dichotomy. It was ‘think tank’ that was not mentioned and which I was thinking about in relation to Demos. Especially the geopolitical projectors who use a curiously neo-mystic language of power.

    The interesting thing is that the ‘Third Way’ seems to have originated in its New Labourite form as the ‘brainchild’ of Giddens and Demos, the ‘think tank’ created by none other than Martin Jacques who was editor of Living Marxism when Soviet Communism was not yet quite dead and offered a ‘systemic alternative’.

    It is Jacques who has made it his task of synthesising the free market with Chinese Communism. Now that’s ‘progressive’ and so minor matters in the course of China’s world historical ascendancy, e.g Tibet, the execution of prisoners,sale of organs, the labour camps,etc etc, need no mention. The most important thing being the humiliation of ‘the West’.

    I’ll be back with some prime samples of Unspeak on the Forum. I’ve been collecting them for some time.

  16. 16  Steven  August 14, 2008, 2:48 pm 

    It was ‘think tank’ that was not mentioned

    Try here.

  17. 17  Karl  August 14, 2008, 5:48 pm 


    BTW I should point out Jacques wrote for Marxism Today and NOT Living Marxism. That’s why he’s a visiting professor at a Chinese university so he can see its merits and acheivements for himself. All these weird ideological contortions and gyrations, with former revolutionary sectarians now becoming opinion formers in ‘think tanks’ is, if you think about it, a very curious part of our culture today.

  18. 18  Aenea  August 15, 2008, 6:35 pm 

    Steevun!!! Post something new dammit. :X

  19. 19  Steven  August 16, 2008, 11:37 am 

    But it’s so much fun not blogging!

  20. 20  MeatWork  August 19, 2008, 8:59 am 

    I myself have recently, whether by accident or design, entered the blogging drought and I agree so wholeheartedly that it is such a relief not to have to feed the chooks more or less daily. As a result most of my chickens have flown the coop to seek greener pastures and tastier worms.

    And yet…

    Many of my most favourite bloggers have done the same – Unspeak for one – and I am often at a loss where to turn. I ask myself, “Is there something going on? Are we in overload? Is the world now gone too mad – with Soviet Russia (really) invading South Ossetia, appalling Olympic/Chinese politics, the spectre of a McBush presidency, Bush himself with a terminally disintegrating screw loose, Sudan, Zimbabwe and on and on – is the world really just too far gone for rational comment, satire or ridicule?” But no-one answers, because all the good ones seem to have left off blogging…

  21. 21  Gregor  August 19, 2008, 9:17 am 

    Ehhm Meatwork

    Soviet Russia has launched an evil invasion of brave little Georgia. Or racist murdering lunatic Saakashvilli dropped bombs on civilians who spoke the ‘wrong’ language and the Russians responded by defending the Ossetians. In fact whilst you say that ‘Soviet’ Russia invaded Ossetia, the Ossetians would rather be part of Russia.

    Incidentally, as something of a connoisseur of how awful yahoo news is, well done for their headline:

    ‘Russia says pulling Georgian troops’

    Reminds me of a line in Full Metal Jacket.

  22. 22  MeatWork  August 19, 2008, 11:19 am 

    Yes I think that’s what I meant – the whole thing is so mad that it makes as much sense to say either of those things or that the “Soviet” Motherland has fondly spanked naughty Georgia to save her from herself. But there is (for me) some echo of the dark, Hungarian and Prague Spring past. What is too ironic is the Bush’s remonstrating against invasions of sovereign countries. “Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be respected…The Cold War is over. The days of satellite states and spheres of influence are behind us…Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century.” [thanks to WIIIAI]

    That headline reminds me of Humphrey Lyttelton:
    “The expert’s expert was of course Lionel Blair. Who could ever forget opposing team captain, Una Stubbs, sitting open-mouthed as he tried to pull off Twelve Angry Men in under two minutes?” There’s an audio grab on the BBC4 website somewhere.

  23. 23  Gregor  August 21, 2008, 12:17 pm 

    Seeing as the humour has already become irrevocably childish, I have to add a quote from Adrian Hamilton’s (otherwise sensible article):

    ‘Nor is it for nothing that the Russians are so determined to send out a clear message as to who is in charge in their nether regions’

  24. 24  tumbleweedius  September 26, 2008, 4:44 am 

    “Terror still killing words”

hit parade

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    older posts