Steve Harris’s article in the Weekend Australian (July 21-22, 2012) strikes at the heart of so much that is wrong with the representation of meaning and the use of language in contemporary Australian public life. As Harris explains, the over-use and misrepresentation of the word, “integrity”, and the twisting of its meaning touches all corners of society - both public and private - from politics, to education, to policy representation, to sports administration, to law making, the media and the broader agenda setting tactics of individuals and corporations.
It should give us pause to question what is being said to us and by whom:
“Is he/she/they saying or doing this because it’s based on integrity, or because (a) it suits them personally -financially, politically or career-wise - to say so, (b) it will hurt them personally to be completely honest, (c) they have been told or paid to say it, (d) they don’t always speak or behave openly and consistently, (e) they haven’t always said what they meant or meant what they said, (f) they sacrifice complete honesty in favour of spin, obfuscation and manipulation, (g) they simply reflect a view that the rich rewards of “winning” justifies the means, or (h) they are more concerned with selfishness/benefit than selflessness/public benefit?”
In other words the use of the word, “integrity”, is often so ill-placed, so misrepresented and so convoluted that it actually becomes the antithesis of what integrity actually means.
However, this wonderful article is an analysis of only one word, one concept - albeit a very important one - that goes someway to explaining the current malaise of Australia’s growing disenchantment and disengagement with politics and policy makers.
What other critical misinterpretations of language and twisted abuses of meaning could we interrogate next?
via the australian
From the Oz: Steve Harris is principal of Aleqmi, a strategic/communications adviser. He is formerly publisher of The Age, editor-in-chief of The Age and Herald Sun, and founding director of the Centre for Leadership and Public Interest at Swinburne University.