Orwellian Phrase of the Week
Which sayings are true, and which ones just sound nice?
Pictured above: A tool of defense.
Today is the 64th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's masterpiece, 1984. Here's hoping that in the case of this particular novel, life stops imitating art. In celebration of the anniversary, The Proverbial Skeptic is proud to announce a new weekly feature, The Orwellian Phrase of the Week.
In it, The Proverbial Skeptic will pause its normal business of taking apart whole sayings and pay a little tribute to the Public Relations people, Consultants, Advertisers, Lobbyists and Politicians who take time from their busy days to make our lives a little more Orwellian by renaming just words and phrases. Thanks, guys! Keep it up!
This week's lucky winner is "The Department of Defense".
An intellectual forebear to "The Patriot Act", this phrase names the military cabinet seat in the executive branch of the U.S. Government and has done so since 1949. Before then, the position was filled by the much less propagandist "The Department of War", but that failed to present America's military policy as appropriately isolationist.
As everyone knows, America has never been prone to unprovoked or incommensurate acts of war, and has never failed to enter a war when it should have.
So thanks, "The Department of Defense", and remember, kids, we were always at war with Eurasia!
Who is to blame for the U.S.'s dismal college graduation rate? "Radical" educator Dennis Littky has a hunch.
- COVID-19 has magnified the challenges that underserved communities face with regard to higher education, such as widening social inequality and sky-high tuition.
- At College Unbound, where I am president, we get to know students individually to understand what motivates them, so they can build a curriculum based on goals they want to achieve.
- My teaching mantra: Everything is permitted during COVID-19. Everything is permitted during COVID-19. Everything is permitted during COVID-19.
Meteorologists propose a stunning new explanation for the mysterious events in the Bermuda Triangle.
One of life's great mysteries, the Bermuda Triangle might have finally found an explanation. This strange region, that lies in the North Atlantic Ocean between Bermuda, Miami and San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been the presumed cause of dozens and dozens of mind-boggling disappearances of ships and planes.
The planet that we are searching for is a little bit smaller and closer than we originally thought.
- Years ago, California Institute of Technology professor Konstantin Batygin was inspired to embark on a journey of discovering what lurked beyond Neptune. What he and his collaborator discovered was a strange field of debris.
- This field of debris exhibited a clustering of orbits, and something was keeping these orbits confined. The only plausible source would be the gravitational pull of an extra planet—Planet Nine.
- While Planet Nine hasn't been found directly, the pieces of the puzzle are coming together. And Batygin is confident we'll return to a nine-planet solar system within the next decade.
Inbreeding leads to a problematically small gene pool.