Amplification In “Life Under The Chief Doublespeak Officer” Creative Writings Examples
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In his essay “Life under the Chief Doublespeak Officer” William Lutz is worries that people are using language in order to manipulate almost every aspect of everyday life. Instead of calling things what they are, society, companies, media, and individuals are using language in manipulative ways in order to mask the truth behind things. One literary device that Lutz uses over and over again in order to make his point is the literary device of amplification. Amplification is what happens when a writer instead of just making a point attempts to make the point of more weight and comprehensibility by adding more to it. Lutz does this throughout his essay and uses the device in order to be more convincing for his readers.
Lutz begins his essay by writing, “If there’s one product American business can produce in large amounts, its doublespeak” (Lutz, n.p). Double speak refers to using words manipulatively to make something that is generally not a positive thing seem positive due to using language in a way that while still technically accurate, is not generally the word that people use in defining the activity or job the word refers to. One example is when he refers to “Automobile junkyards” being called, “Auto dismantlers and recyclers” (Lutz, n.p.). Since junkyards have a bad connotation, this new term to refer to them seems positive.
Lutz’s essay is an example of ongoing amplification, since he continually adds to the definition, with examples, of what double speak exactly is. In his first paragraph he defines doublespeak as “language that hides, evades or misleads” (Lutz, n.p). In the third paragraph he uses amplification by giving a variety of examples of what constitutes doublespeak. Instead of referring to something as the worst, under doublespeak it is referred to as the “least best” of course this has the exact same meaning as worst, but it is used because it does not sound as bad as being the worst. But the only reason that a person would ever use the word “least-best” instead of worst, would be in order to use it manipulatively to avoid the connotation that worst has. He uses this example as instead of calling a trust drive the “worst drive” calling him the “least-best driver” Lutz, n.p.). He again uses amplification by saying that bribes can instead be called rebates, and that even robbery from an ATM can be called an “authorized transaction.”
He continues to attack American business and the way that while they are not increasing the wages of their workers, workers with mundane jobs are able to act like they inhabit more important roles by putting “chief” in their job title. Again, Lutz uses amplification by adding numerous examples this statement. He lists a dozen different examples, including “Chief creative officer” and “Chief technology officer.”
The problem with watering down language like this is that it lessons the impact of words. If Chief was formerly reserved only for the head of a company, such as “Chief executive officer” than it carries with it the sense of importance that that position deserves. But if it is merely a word that is attached to every job title than it loses its impact.
Lutz, William “Life under the Chief Doublespeak Officer” Truscott, R. The essentials of college and university writing. Piscataway, N.J.: Research and Education Association.
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