“Omertà” says it all
Here’s a striking piece, well worth a read. Good headline, but the subtitle really stands out: “The omertà of Britain’s press and politicians on phone-hacking amounts to complicity in crime”. No understated English “conspiracy of silence” here. Full red-blooded Sicilian “omertà”! In your face, or what? No shilly-shallying about language mixing either, or worries about possible “dilution” of the English tongue. On the contrary, the choice of vocabulary is clearly deliberate and designed for maximum vigour and effect.
So much for the sociolinguistics/stylistics. Now for the content. Politicians got it in the neck last year for fiddling their expenses. We all remember the uproar. If I recall correctly we have our “ever-vigilant” press to thank for that one. (Wasn’t a disk “leaked”, presumably from one person’s computer to somebody else’s?) And now we’re all talking about the pot calling the kettle black.
Well, who are we, Joe Public, to complain? We’re the ones who buy the “filthy rags” that deal in this stuff. We can expect some brave/dumb fall-guy from the fourth estate to take a ritual hammering on BBC Question Time this week, but who in the audience is going to turn round and address their remarks not to the panel but to the rest of the audience and to us in our homes? We pay the pipers – be they politicians or presspeople. What kind of tunes have we been calling? If there’s been a “conspiracy of silence” it’s one in which the public has been complicit. Time for us all to take a look in the mirror?
Okay, we can work up an emotional lather easily enough. But it’s no use just waving the cut-throat razor in fury, like some second-rate backstreet hoodlum, at the press and the politicians. Have we got the gumption to keep a steady hand when it comes to taking the actual shave ourselves?