NOTE: This contribution was submitted by ATM; better known as my better half. Enjoy.
My Outrage of the Week
(would George Orwell be proud of George Bush?)
I have a vague recollection of the first time I heard it; in fact, it was probably the State of the Union Address 2006. The term “addicted to oil” rolled out of the mouth of George W., and I remember looking at my husband; we were both thinking: did he really just say that? Of course, this term was used in response to the too casual and rapid rise in oil prices impacting most Americans weekly as they drove up to the pump. Even at our “cheapest” gas station in town, we would fill up our tanks exchanging frustrated grimaces of outrage.
Anyway, good ol’ W. simply suggested that the rise in fuel costs was a direct result of our American addiction to oil. (Next time I teach American lit., I’ll have to add this one to my list of essential questions: How can we, as Americans, combat our addiction to oil?) At any rate, the term was thrown out into American homes via television by our esteemed president; personally, I had no faith in its shelf life. I mean, come on, are people really going to be willing to buy into this blame game? Are we suddenly (curiously during the presidential terms of this oil guy) so addicted to oil that our gas prices have skyrocketed and yo-yoed over the past few years?
How transparent! I remember thinking: Nobody will buy into this madness. It’s right out of 1984. The real information (a direct correlation involving the Bush presidency, the former Republican Congress and our out of control oil prices) has been sent down the memory tube, and the “addiction to oil” has been rewritten into our American history books.
I guess I really never thought that the catchy little phrase would be rooted in talk media for the past year. This morning on the Diane Rehm show, her guest amicably discussed the news of the day and the casual phrase assaulted me like a crack addict in a dark alley (oops, wrong addiction blog). “Addicted to Oil” has stretched its legs in the American consciousness, and it’s not going anywhere.
I wonder what new delightful term will be revealed tonight, allowing us to doublespeak our way into another new reality. I hope Winston and Julia will be watching.