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The Porcupine's Quill: A Satire Column
by Arshad M. Khan
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the satire column
April 21, 2013
THE NON-JUMPING FLEA (PART I)
First of all, in the interests of full disclosure, as they say nowadays, I am actually a
louse. But I have been to America. And over there everyone and everything takes
on a new name. It's what their President calls 'looking forward'. Forget the past, look
to the future ... even if your future is going to be much the same as the past.
Torture? No. Enhanced interrogation? Yes. Killing? No. Assassinating? No.
Neutralizing? Yes. As the visual imagery and the meaning catch up in the public
mind, the word is changed. So 'enhanced interrogation' could become 'intensive
interrogation', and later perhaps, 'incentivized interrogation'.
All Americans also have their own adjective: White Americans, Asian Americans and
so on. It's what gave me the idea. A louse is bad. In America it means 'bad person'.
But a non-jumping flea sounds good. It makes you believe the scientists have
produced a miracle. It makes you feel safe. You might even consider having some
as pets -- your own flea circus without any danger of any of us jumping on your
Similarly, prison sounds bad but penitentiary? One can imagine the inmates as
penitents, kneeling beside their beds in earnest prayer for forgiveness. Some
prisons are called 'correctional facilities'. That has some truth though not what you
think. Inside they learn from each others mistakes; they learn to correct them, so
they won't be caught next time.
I love America. It's a wonderful country -- gives everyone a new start, even a new
name. Forward! Look to the future. The past had another name, another time. Now
is your time and the world is your oyster ...