For too long we have been using the wrong word. I don’t mean the substitution of “insurgent” where “terrorist” or “murderer” would better serve the truth. Except for the recalcitrance of the MSM, we’ve solved that one already. What we need is a new word, a neologism for the new world entropy.
It’s obvious that human beings are the animals who use words. We play with them, create them, adapt them to new uses. We make verbs and nouns and then make the nouns serve as verbs and all of it in constant flux. Except for the French, of course, who pass their words through a committee and end up with with lumpy, lame neologisms that look and sound vaguely like camels…all just so they won’t have to resort to English.
Different fields develop their own jargon but not all of it is self-explanatory even to its initiates. The military is famous — or notorious, given your prejudice — for creating acronyms. Here’s one that shows soldierly ingenuity: BASH. No, it’s not a fancy party and it’s not when someone is struck on the head —though that’s closer. BASH is a bird aircraft strike hazard. The military is usually in a hurry, thus the shorter the word, the better. BASH does nicely to describe a messy, dangerous situation.
Medicine, too, has more than its share of buzz words. Many of them are so designed that medical personnel can talk amongst themselves in front of you while not actually giving you any information. Since they often work in crisis conditions, this is understandable. No one wants to make an already anxious patient go into melt-down. That’s why “carcinoma” used to be so handy; unfortunately most of the rest of us know that one now. Then there’s “gomer.” How many people know what that is? Let us hope not the person to whom it refers. Sometimes doctors seem like parents talking Pig Latin in front of the children. Ixnay.
Today, the most creative field for neologisms is IT. Information technology. These guys are in just as much of a hurry as any soldier, and often seem as much in crisis mode as a medical team. Just ask the Help Desk when people need their laptop fixed. Usually yesterday, and those asking for help aren’t known for their intelligence or courtesy. By now so many hacker terms have been incorporated into the real world that we don’t even notice their presence anymore. Spam, flame, spyware, emoticons, etc., have been taken over by the rest of us because they’re useful. And hackers don’t mind sharing, especially since anything they’re using today is tomorrow’s doorstop (that’s one hacker term for obsolete).
All of this is a long introduction to the search for a neologism which serves the reality we face when some terrorist blows himself up and takes other people with him. “Suicide bomber” isn’t really accurate. He didn’t just commit suicide, he also committed homicide, and often on a large scale. To call what he did ‘suicide’ is too genteel, and essentially inaccurate because it does not convey the utter cruelty of his act.
I don’t have a good term yet; it’s a work in progress. For the moment, the word that comes to mind is “omnicide.” Or maybe, just to make the point that no man –not even an infidel — is an island, we could start calling this slaughter what it is: fratricide. If nothing else, the name would annoy the bejesus out of Allah’s annointed, now wouldn’t it?
Any suggestions from the blogosphere?