So here’s a new linguistic turn: putting words in quotes to indicate uncertainty as to accuracy (as opposed to putting words in quotes to indicate irony or sarcasm). Contrast, for example, It was a ‘good’ idea for California State Senator Roy Ashburn, a closeted gay man with a ferociously anti-gay agenda to drive drunk (and get arrested) after leaving a gay bar with a companion with: “Bali Bombing Mastermind ‘Killed’ in Shootout.” The former conveys a sarcastic assessment of Senator Ashburn’s behavior. The latter indicates that the man killed in Bali may or may not be the suspected terrorist sought.
Such grammatical sleights, which effectively strip meaning from words, put me in mind of a rhetorical device often used to undermine the animal advocacy movement. Animal advocacy groups, regardless of mission, are routinely depicted by the press (and the meat industry) as “animal rights groups” while those who torture and slaughter billions of animals self-identify as proponents of animal “welfare.”
In the latter case, the co-opting of the term “welfare” is, in my view, an act of linguistic violence. When brutalizers of animals claim to be champions of animal welfare, somewhere, George Orwell is crying into his beer.
Filed under: animal advocacy, animal welfare, factory farms, Uncategorized Tagged: | animal abuse, animal advocacy, animal rights, animal welfare, factory farms, farmed animals, grammar, industrial farming, rhetoric, Roy Ashburn, wordplay