Friday, June 29, 2012

Awash in acronyms

scotus2and how about that Obamacare decision?

The Dutch couldn’t resist stirring the pot over dinner.  My conservative friend and I each took a good gulp of wine, agreed that under our disagreements we probably could find common ground, and let it go at that.  Neither of us want costs shared unequally, payments going to support bureaucracy, nor lawyers profiting from honest mistakes. Neither of us has the answers.

Nonetheless, I support the ruling, as convoluted as the reasoning is.

My issue today is with the pervasive use of SCOTUS in announcing the decision.

dodI was offered a book of Dutch acronyms today: “Do you have to visit the IND, are your children doing VWO and do you live in a Vinex area? Can you recognise BN'ers and do you know BOB? Have you got a DigiD and are you paying OZB?”  Sadly, I recognize most of them, but moreso, I recognize the creeping disease of reducing everything to capitalized hash keys.

I think that it started innocently enough, a way of euphemizing  medical topics.  Who wouldn’t prefer friendly ED to the the cold diagnosis of Erectile Dysfunction?  It distinguished government departments during the New Deal; shielded military command and control structures during the wars.

But it’s lately become a form of political speech.  It was first carried to congressional races (Ny4), endowing them with quasi-combat designations   It has “dog-whistle” significance, as acronyms convey coded meaning that’s shared among among members of a scotusgroup.

But SCOTUS (The Supreme Court Of The United States) feels like something more.  It’s a scornful phrase, feeding on, then driving, people’s perceptions of the court as partisan and less deserving of respect.  The acronym isn’t shorter than “Supreme Court”. It’s simply another way to diminish institutions and individuals.

The world could do with a few less acronyms.  And with the thinking behind them.

1 comment:

A Touch of Dutch blog said...

I feel the same about these acronyms! SCOTUS sounds frightening - And like a disease that won't go away ;-)