The Loud American

Every now and then as I write, I use a word that I'm pretty sure means what I want to say, but not entirely sure. At times like these, I pause, open my dictionary widget, and look up the word to make sure I'm using it right. Pretty standard practice, I suppose.

The other day, George W. Bush made a speech in which he compared Iraq to Vietnam. What didn't appear in the news stories and the, "Uh, really, George?" commentary was the bit where Bush's speech writers attempted to make him appear erudite and well-read by tossing in a reference to Graham Greene's The Quiet American. The problem with this, as Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher points out, is that neither Bush nor his speech writers appear to have read or at least understood The Quiet American.

And there you have, in a nutshell, what I loathe about this president and his administration. Their philosophy has always been that the appearance of intelligence, confidence and leadership is just as good as actual intelligence, confidence and leadership. A lie repeated often enough and stridently enough becomes just as good as truth. Pretend to know what you're talking about often and stridently, and it's just as good as actually knowing what you're talking about. They don't pause to look things up in the dictionary because it doesn't matter to them if they're truly using the right word in the right way as long as it appears that they are.