August 7, 2022

ROGER KIMBALL: The Grasshopper Elite and Its Enemy. Unfortunately, those loud and troublesome pests, though few, control almost all the levers of political and state police power:

I do not remember when I first noticed these little injections of partisan squid ink, but by now they are ubiquitous in the anti-Trump fraternity. Just one example: in a column Saturday about Donald Trump’s weekend rally in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the writer claimed Trump “spent much of his speech focusing on his baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election” (emphasis added). To the writing teachers out there, let me ask: Would that sentence have been better—less obviously partisan, hence more persuasive—had the word “baseless” been omitted?

Or how about this bit from later on in the piece: “Trump spent much of his speech touting the accomplishments of his term as president . . . and promoting the lie that the 2020 election was ‘rigged and stolen’” (again, emphasis added). What do you think?

Or how about this: Trump was in Wisconsin “ostensibly” to stump for Tim Michels, the person Trump backs for Tuesday’s GOP gubernatorial primary, but he devoted much of his speech “focusing on his baseless claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.”

This last sentence offers connoisseurs of cant not one but two morsels to chew on. The first is the deployment of the word “ostensibly,” meaning “apparently so” but “not really.” You might have thought Trump came to Waukesha to help his favored gubernatorial candidate. Really, though, he came to dispense “baseless” claims that there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

I do not know whether this spreading linguistic tic is the result of a directive from on high—from editors demanding that their troops insert such adjectival props—or whether it is a more organic phenomenon, a matter of the zeitgeist pushing the adoption of these expressive ornaments and curlicues. It’s a little of both, I suspect. I don’t doubt the influence of management—and the diktats, I’d wager, come from much higher up the political food chain than any publisher’s office. But I suspect that in many, maybe most, cases, it is simply the expression of what the late Joe Sobran identified as “the Hive.” “Liberals laugh at conspiracy theories that assume that because there is a pattern there must be some central control,” Sobran observed; “but the fact that there is no central control doesn’t mean that there is no pattern.”

Read the whole thing.

InstaPundit is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.