'The Devil's Dictionary' Revisited


| July 28, 2003


Recognizing the current wave of propaganda that is plaguing the body politic, Cape Cod Times writer Sean Gonsalves dedicates a recent column to the memory of Ambrose Bierce. Bierce's classic 998-word lexicon for cynics, The Devil's Dictionary, included such gems as: 'Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe whose influence in human affairs has always been dominant and controlling.'

Considering the number of and influence of that tribe's members who are running (or should I say, ruining) the country right now, Gonsalves has found a wealth of new terms being bandied about in Washington that, were Bierce alive today, he would surely be proud to include in an updated edition.

Here are two of Gonsalves' new devilish definitions:

Opinion Poll, n. A propaganda device used to conform public opinion into the shape elite opinion leaders see fit; a survey in which many respondents side with the ready-made opinion they think the pollster wants to hear.

Weapons of Mass Destruction, n. Tools of violent coercion that are a benign deterrent in the hands of 'us;' but evidence of maniacal evil in the possession of 'others.'

Gonsalves welcomes additional definitions. Got some? E-mail them to him at sgonsalves@capecodonline.com
-- Leif Utne