Calling things what they are, Mr. Orwell. Holodomor, anyone?

I need to read George Orwell.   In terms of debilitating lies, regularly told via mass media to advance a false narrative, we are living in grimly Orwellian times.  What we call something makes all the difference, as all American Needle Nazis, health care professionals advocating mass vaccination during a deadly worldwide plague, know very well.  This kind of re-framing and renaming happens everywhere right now, in every space, during virtually every argument over anything.  What we call what we are fighting about is often the difference between prevailing and failing.

There are countless examples of this kind of force fed bullshit in our political culture — End Mask Mandate Tyranny (surprisingly never brought to state legislatures as the Freedom to Infect Act), Stop the Steal (only fraud found — a few cases of overzealous Trump voters), Voting Integrity Laws (to ensure only voters with the right kind of integrity have their votes counted), Right to Life (fetuses only, bitches), Death Tax (paid by entitled living heirs of the super rich), Death Panels (without these nobody would ever have to die!), Climate Change Skepticism (you just keep bringing more proof, we have FAITH!) and on down the list.   This kind of crap is increasingly common in a world where an obvious lie can be shrugged off as “alternative fact,”  if you believe it, faith-based person, it’s irrefutably true for YOU and everyone in your tribe.   

A big part of this kind of Orwellian lie is insisting on the opposite of what a powerful group is actually doing.  The pompous idiots who wrote Trump’s hastily prepared 1776 Report, a junior high school level American history term paper “refuting” the 1619 Project’s version of a slave-based economy during much of US history, focused on white, Christian values (First Amendment be damned to hell), began by stating the cardinal principle of our democracy — that here all are equal under the law.    This was insisted on, with a straight face, after Trump’s third attorney general had engaged in all kinds of obstruction of justice on behalf of the president and his inner circle jerks, after the president had pardoned a rogue’s gallery of select criminals, including one arrested by Trump’s own DOJ (DeJoy’s postal service, actually)  for ripping off Trump’s own loyal, credulous base with a fake Build the Wall scam.  After the president himself proved that obstructing justice, for the wealthy and connected, may be done with impunity if you have enough lawyers to tie everything up in court for years and a spineless enough opposition party.

Of course, since almost everyone in my family was ‘euthanized’ under Nazi supervision (though none of them made it to the camps), I always think of the famous sign worked in the wrought iron gates of Auschwitz, the famous “work camp” for slave laborers — Arbeit Macht Frei, Work Liberates.  The Nazis were pioneers in Language Rules, strict Sprachregelung, what you can and cannot say in Nazi Germany.   They had some good ones.   You had the bulk of the Jews in the category of Transport Juden, otherwise innocent Jews taken by train to the “work” camps, their papers marked Sonderbehandlung (special handling), and Schutzhaft Juden, (Jews in protective custody) criminal Jews who had a much higher status than the ordinary “workers” and tended to survive, even thrive, in places like Auschwitz. Nazi logic speaks for itself... to Nazis.

Think of it, though, how you name something is crucial for success or failure.  Every marketer, brander, advertiser, lobbyist, public relations consultant knows branding and proper messaging makes all the difference. Which banner would you rather fight under during a deadly pandemic “Freedom to Infect” or “Freedom from Overreaching Government Tyranny”?  A fucking no-brainer.    Putin, after invading Ukraine in an intended Shock and Awe blitzkrieg, immediately made a law criminalizing anyone who referred to the move as an “invasion”, “war”, “blitzkrieg”, “hostilities”, or, actually, anything but a humanitarian, fully necessary peacekeeping mission.    See?  That was easy, wasn’t it?

Speaking of Russians keeping the peace in Ukraine, ever heard of the Holomodor?   Not many here have, though everyone in Ukraine is well aware of this mass atrocity:

The Holodomor, also known as the Terror-Famine or the Great Famine, was a famine in Soviet Ukraine from 1932 to 1933 that killed millions of Ukrainians. The term Holodomor emphasises the famine’s man-made nature and alleged intentional aspects such as rejection of outside aid, confiscation of all household foodstuffs and restriction of population movement.


Holodomor, man-made famine that convulsed the Soviet republic of Ukraine from 1932 to 1933, peaking in the late spring of 1933. It was part of a broader Soviet famine (1931–34) that also caused mass starvation in the grain-growing regions of Soviet Russia and Kazakhstan. The Ukrainian famine, however, was made deadlier by a series of political decrees and decisions that were aimed mostly or only at Ukraine. In acknowledgement of its scale, the famine of 1932–33 is often called the Holodomor, a term derived from the Ukrainian words for hunger (holod) and extermination (mor).

The body count of those who died (or more accurately, who were killed by Stalin) during the year of the Holodomor was a shade under four million.   Four million murdered Ukrainians, in a fraction of the time it took the New York Times’s Mr. Hitler to get rid of six million pesky Transport Juden.   Like many other atrocities (though few have been on this scale) it has largely been forgotten in history by all but the offspring of the victims.   Don’t we all know how that goes?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s