Fuzzy English’s name was inspired by President George W. Bush, who accused VP Al Gore of using “fuzzy math” in a debate in 2000. The name was so cute he didn’t have to offer many details about what it meant, or justify its use. There’s the problem.
This project is intended to be an exploration of the uses and abuses of language. How did a 1919 metaphor clinch a victory of national security over civil liberties? How did the word “tantamount” play a part in the deaths of thousands of Europeans? Oh, and there will be jokes too.
In particular, Fuzzy English was inspired by Samantha Power’s A Problem From Hell, which includes numerous examples of how politicians can use language to fuzzify the matter at hand, to clutter a pressing issue, and to avoid meaningful social progress or humanitarian aid.
If enough of us were aware of the various tricks, or if we were more quickly keen to the language loopholes of the day, perhaps public figures would be able to waffle less and finally put some cards on the table.
These are my attempts to focus. I want this to be a multilateral project. Please let me know if the work interests you or you have further topics for exploration.