Changing names

The fact that our modern world celebrates style over substance is nothing new, experts place the arbitrary changeover moment at around 1960–specifically the televised debate during the presidential campaign between Nixon and Kennedy. That's nearly 50 years of relentless advertising, monstrous spin, and endless 're-framing.' Opinion used to be about how you look at things, now it's how things look; subtle difference.

The military penchant for cheerful euphemism (collateral damage etc.) can be traced to the late 80's rush of political correctness, with everyone suddenly being 'something'-challenged (vertically-, folically-; or 'visually oriented' for deaf people, and perhaps 'living impaired' for dead people).

Bush has done wonders for this blatant mis-labelling of reality. His administration is desperate to add the Iranian Revolutionary Guard to its list of official terror organisations. As we know, terrorists are whoever Bush says they are; that way he needs no warrants, trials, courts, evidence, due process, accountability, or transparency. I have to say, calling a standing army of a sovereign nation a terrorist organisation is a bit of a stretch.

Just before the Iraq war began, Bush sent a few politicos to Europe to prepare the ground for his unpopular unilateral action. A Republican congressman from upstate New York appeared on Sky News for a one-on-one interview where he was asked about Bush's sweeping statements about being 'with us or against us' after September the 11th.

I can clearly remember the host asking him whether, in different circumstances and other times, Ireland could be considered a 'host country' for terrorists, as some people were clearly harbouring and assisting the IRA.

The Bushite replied: 'No. Because the IRA were "freedom fighters" not terrorists.' Well, there's a turn up for the books, eh? Glad he could clear that one up for the British Army. And thank goodness we (the host country I mean, not 'we, the IRA') came down on the right side of Bush's new re-classification of the world, lest we be dealt the same hand as Afghanistan or Iraq (and soon Iran).

Not since Marathon was renamed Snickers back in 1989(!) has there been such a seismic shift in geo-political nuance. I wonder if we could take up a suggestion from the letters page of today's I.T. and rename Shannon, in Ryanair style, as Dublin (West)?