- Category: Imperialism & War
- Created on Saturday, 23 October 2010 14:11
- Written by Rob Beschizza
...here's a solution from boingboing:
The New York Times Torture Euphemism Generator!
Reading the NYT's stories about the Iraq War logs, I was struck by how it could get through such gruesome descriptions — fingers chopped off, chemicals splashed on prisoners — without using the word 'torture.' For some reason the word is unavailable when it is literally meaningful, yet is readily tossed around for laughs in contexts where it means nothing at all. It turns out the NYT has a reputation for studiously avoiding the word, to the point of using bizarre bureaucratic alternatives.
It must be awfully hard work inventing these things. So I thought I'd help out by putting together a torture euphemism generator that the New York Times' reporters can use to help avoid the T-word in their thumb removal and acid bath coverage.
Click the "new headline" link to get a new one! (It won't refresh the ads or anything.)
[Moderator's note: clicking on the image below will link you to the original article where you can generate a new headline]
The piece below is from harpers.org.
The ‘Torture’ Hypocrisy of the New York Times
By Scott Horton
Has the newspaper of record adopted a double standard for torture techniques—using the “t”-word when the techniques are applied by other nations, but using more evasive characterizations when agents of the United States government are in the spotlight? That question has now been authoritatively settled, and the answer is a resounding “yes.”
A new study by Harvard’s Kennedy School (PDF) looks systematically at how American print media characterized the use of waterboarding in incidents reported from 1903 (the famous case of Major Glenn, coming out of the Philippines) to the present day. Here’s the crux of their conclusions:
So waterboarding in the hands of the Japanese, the Khmer Rouge, East Germans, Brazilians, and Argentinians is “torture,” the American newspapers tell us, but indistinguishable techniques when used with the authority of the American government are simply “enhanced interrogation techniques,” that “critics” “refer to as torture.” This is unalloyed hypocrisy. And it has social and political consequences far beyond the nuanced semantics that fill the columns of the public editor. It is shaping a darker, more brutal society—one prepared to accept torture as a legitimate tool in the hands of the state.