Fintan O'Toole on Willie O'Dea and language emptied of meaning

The real problem is not that Cowen can’t communicate – but that communication has long disappeared from official discourse, writesFINTAN O'TOOLE

THE FUNERAL elegy for Fianna Fáil has already been written, by TS Eliot: “We are the hollow men/ We are the stuffed men/ Leaning together/ Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!/ Our dried voices, when/ We whisper together/ Are quiet and meaningless/ As wind in dry grass/ Or rats’ feet over broken glass/ In our dry cellar.”

Here is the sound of hollow men whispering meaninglessly: a Fianna Fáil politician writing in the Sunday Independent about the Twitter rage that followed Brian Cowen’s now infamous Morning Ireland interview last week....

Even in the bubble of self-importance he inhabits, Willie O’Dea must know that he is a notorious slanderer whose calls for civility in political discourse are as meaningful as a vampire’s vegetarianism. There is no real pretence at persuading anyone of anything. There is just empty noise.

When words are used, not to stimulate discussion, but to deny the possibility of discussion, they die. They wither into verbiage. They become spin that has stopped spinning, propaganda that no one expects to fool anyone. And the first official language of the State is no longer Irish or English, it is this system of empty sounds, spoken into a void. >>> (Times here>>>)

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