Our nation’s capital has long been renowned for oratory consisting of Washington “double-speak,” saying one thing and meaning something else. Those of you who follow this blog may remember me telling the story about an old southern Senator’s remarks being challenged by a reporter and the Senator in response said, “Son, just because I said it doesn’t mean it is so.”
Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney responding in June of this year to questions about the Bush tax cuts stated, “I just want to be clear that when some folks are throwing up a lot of ‘gorilla dust’ to confuse people about what they’re ruling out.”
The term ‘gorilla dust’ was a new one to me and upon checking the web site DoubleTongued.org I learned the definition to be “bluffing, posturing, or hollow attempts at intimidation.” That definitely sounds like all the talk coming from both sides of the aisles of Congress and the White House Oval Office to me.
Here are some catchwords I spotted on that same web site that have been introduced into the language of Washington too: macaroon technique, sorry gift, break the ton, ghost shift, stock, startle factor, hair crunch, seagen, rollup, simming, nimbleton, skuke, broccoli journalism, parclo, and dittoism. Not knowing what in the hell these words really mean I doubt few others do, and that is one of our basic problems in Washington because I’m not sure they do either.
If you want to check the definition of these words just hit this link:
I like the basic explanation for ‘gorilla dust’ from “Hinduism Today” in 1998, “When two male gorillas confront each other, they’re too canny most of the time to actually fight, so they resort to the tried-and-true political tactic of intimidation. Both scurry about in frenzy, grimacing menacingly, beating their chests and tossing clouds of dirt into the air. It’s a serious encounter, full of powerful and primitive energies, a test of testosterone. Soon one becomes convinced that the other could win the threatened physical engagement and retreats.”
Sounds oddly familiar, doesn’t it?