A Fistful of Fatuity: Negotiating Truth with Spin Doctors

by NORMAN SIMMS November 8, 2012

Absolutely. Everyone on the media these days answers questions, pro and con, as "Absolutely," meaning yes without question or hesitation and no without any holding back.  There are no longer maybe and perhaps in people's vocabulary, no doubts or admissions of the need to wait for further information.

Issue.  Once upon a time, an issue was something that flowed out of something else, as a child or a flow of blood, or it could be the profits that accrued from hard work or investment.  Then, when it took on the sense of publication, the process and the product became through metonymy the source itself.  In media terms, beginning with printed books and magazines, the issue was not just the printed page but also the news or information written about.  Since news deals with problems and crises, the word issue took on that significance, so that anybody who had a pain, complaint or unresolved difficulty had issues, and that soon also meant in medical terms a disease or an injury.  Pretty soon the whole world was filled with undissolved issues and tissues.

Remediate.  I am not sure what this means, but I recently heard a middle school principal in Christchurch, New Zealand complaining that it was unfair of the government to announce the closure of his establishment.  "We were hardly damaged in the earthquakes of 2010 and 2010 and most of our catchment area is rural, besides which those parts of the city we serve are scheduled for remediation."  At first, it seemed he was talking about repair or restoration; then since he was a school teacher remediation probably has something to do with remedial reading or some other remedy. Who knows?  It may also just mean an issue to be dealt with.

Norman Simms is the author of Alfred Dreyfus: Man, Milieu, Mentality and Midrash (Academic Studies Press, 2011).  The second volume in the series, Alfred Dreyfus: In the Context of His Times: Alfred Dreyfus as Lover, Intellectual, Poet and Jew  (also by Academic Studies Press) was published in July 2013; and the third Alfred and Lucie Dreyfus in the Phantasmagoria (Cambridge Scholars Publisher, UK) in September 2013.


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