The Guardian • Issue #2098

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2098
Weasel Words heading

Soros

This is one of the nastiest Weasel Words we’ve ever had. It’s a bloke’s name, specifically a really rich bloke who’s done a lot of philanthropy. As well as being a billionaire hedge fund manager, George Soros is Jewish, and accusing him of being behind things he’s really not behind has become a way of being anti-semitic with what the perpetrator imagines to be plausible deniability. Extra-weaselly, people who are suddenly furious with pro-Palestine protests on US university campus because protesting against mass murder is ‘anti-semitic’ are also into accusing Soros of being behind anything they think is left-wing.

Why it’s almost as though they’re not anti-anti-semitic at all!

Listening

Listening is a good thing to do. It’s also a weasel way of sounding apologetic without actually apologising.

“We have listened,” says Qantas CEO Vanessa Hudson. She was Qantas’ Chief Financial Officer while it was selling people tickets to flights that have already been cancelled, as well as CEO while the airline was loudly saying they’d done nothing wrong. Presumably at that stage Qantas was sticking fingers in its ears and saying “I can’t hear you.” What Hudson means is “we’ve been caught.”

Now

“Now is the time,” according to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Shorthand for “hurry up,” what Blinken means is that it’s Hamas’ fault if they don’t agree to a ceasefire deal that involves the Israeli Defence Force attacking Rafah. Why ‘now’ wasn’t the time 34,000 murdered Palestinians ago is something Blinken didn’t explain.

High jinks

Like ‘larks’ and ‘shennanigans,’ ‘high jinks’ sounds like fun. It’s also how senior officers in the British Royal Marines described sexual assault when a member of the Marines Band reported it, telling her “If you don’t admit to high jinks … you are more likely to get into trouble than the boys are.” With officers like that, who needs enemies?

‘Courageous’

How the UK Tory Chancellor described William Wragg, an MP who gave the phone numbers of colleagues to a blackmailer he met on a dating app. Wragg said sorry when the scandal went public, and you don’t get much more courageous than that. If only he’d had Vanessa Hudson’s number. (see ‘Listening’ above) She would have told him to say he’d been listening.

Passionate

Being passionate used to be quite a romantic thing to do, before a billion resumes and job applications reduced passion to just something people felt about getting office work done on time. Biden re-election campaign co-chair, Mitch Landrieu, is inviting the world to feel sorry for Joe Biden on his reaction to the pro-Palestine protests on US university campuses. It’s a difficult time for Biden, says Landrieu, and there are “very passionate opinions on both sides of the issue.” Indeed there are – a lot of people feel very strongly about genocide.

Disorder

You could fill a whole book with things that US presidents have said and done which would be cited as proof of evil authoritarianism if Chinese leaders had said and done them. Any such book would have a place for Joe Biden’s remark about the wave of pro-Palestine protests sweeping the US, that “dissent must never lead to disorder”. A lot of the disorder he’s not happy with has been caused by violent overreaction by universities, police forces.  Biden should have a look at the rubble of Gaza, and the murders on the West Bank he’s funding before he starts on ‘disorder’ at home.

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