‘The Devil’s Dictionary’ Revisited

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
, 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

Leif Utne

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Devil’s Dictionary’ Revisited

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