Friday, August 05, 2005

Scandalous Language

Kevin Choset, over at Volokh, talks about the practise of tacking the suffix "-gate" on to any scandal. How did this practise arise? I believe that it was started by Democrats, with the conscious purpose of making people remember the Watergate scandal, and therefore the almost-subliminal idea that Republicans are corrupt. No matter what the actual scandal du jour is about, and no matter who is involved, those Democrats wanted it always to be compared, in the back of people's minds, to the ur-scandal, the burglary at the Watergate.

I remember that during the Iran/Contra affair, when people started calling it "Contragate" or "Irangate", I saw a contrary suggestion that right-wingers should start referring to it as "Iranaquiddick", in order to divert attention from an old Republican scandal to an old Democratic scandal. But if I recall correctly, the term that emerged among those reluctant to use the "-gate" suffix was "Iranamuck". At least, that's still the term I use if I ever have to refer to it nowadays. And I still occasionally try using the "-quiddick" suffix on the scandal du jour, to see whether it sticks.


Post a Comment

<< Home