Yeah, that’s right. I said niggardly*. Did you gasp?
How about niggling**? Does that also make you squirm?
If you are not gasping, squirming and looking about you nervously, congratulations! Your education has paid off.
If you have no idea these words mean anything other than what they sound like, crack a book.
Recently, Pete Williams used the term Obamacare on air. He was not the first, but he is the first non-FOX News journalist who caught my attention doing it. After years of the right-wing of America hammering that term as a derogatory slam on the president, it is starting to take hold in mainstream media. Eventually they will all give up and start saying it.
The right-wing has warped good words into things that sound bad. Like “compromise.” They use the term compromise as in “we will not give in.”
Any third-grader learns that a democracy only works when both sides compromise — as in working together with mutual respect. If the right really wants to compare government spending to a family budget, it is impossible to do so without compromising.
How about “entitlements” as in “he thinks he is sooooo entitled that he just jumps to the head of the line and takes.” Sounds like someone is getting something for nothing that he doesn’t deserve. The only problem with “entitlements” like Social Security, Medicare and Unemployment Insurance is that we have paid for them. We really are entitled to those benefits! The Left should maybe start calling them Citizen-Funded Benefits (CFBs)
What really makes me scratch my head is when groups redefine terms that are mutually exclusive, like “Obama is a Hitler-loving socialist.” That’s like calling me a cat-dog. Physically impossible, linguistically silly.
Some words lend a degree of specificity to language that allows us to communicate a feeling or connotation that their synonyms don’t. I mourn the loss of my ability to use words like niggardly in public simply because it communicates a deeper level of cheap than “cheap.” It has a more visceral feel. It causes me to say the word and clench my fists, further punctuating its meaning (I’m half French.. we talk with our paws.)
I suppose the most effective way to warp the meanings of common words is to keep the masses stupid. Maybe we can do that by vilifying teachers and cutting education budgets. Just a thought. I look forward to the comments I’ll most assuredly will be getting from members of the uneducated masses.
Now quit masticating your breakfast, get off your homo sapien butt and learn some new words. Don’t put off tomorrow what you can castrate today.
In the meantime, Oswald Bates for president, y’all. Or Rick Perry. Same thing.
*niggardly: cheap, mean, miserly, parsimonious, close-fisted, penny-pinching, cheeseparing, grasping, ungenerous, illiberal; informal stingy, tight, tightfisted.
**niggling: a trifling complaint, dispute, or criticism.