Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"Terroristic Motives" - caught in the maze of painfully tortured language

Yesterday, about the Chelsea bombing,  I heard a TV journalist say - and it seemed to roll off his tongue:

"They haven't determined terroristic motives"

"Terroristic motives".  I stumbled on the phrase. 

On this blog we've been discussing the wordplay being used by journalists, officials and even us and our fellow New Yorkers - the dilemma,  to use or not use the term "terrorism".  

"Terroristic motives" seems to be another painfully tortured effort by a speaker to find his way in this new linguistic maze. 

I'm wondering if the word "terrorism" falls into any of our iconic categories -  "commie" "pinko" or "bolshie" ; or  "grasshopper", "wetback" or "taco jockey" or "yid" , "kike" "mick" or "guido" 

History reports we spewed these terms without even so much as a stutter. 

But now there’s this old act (terrorism) embedded in a more complex world and we seem to be tongue tied.


Perhaps we’ll devise an endless list of of “ ______-inspired terrorisms” to talk about terrorism.

Linguistic ingenuity is ours.  But what will this get us.  Refine our talk about terrorism, or take us further from talking about it?