Somewhere in the United States government is the person who came up with the idea of fusing the wail of an infant with the incessant meow from a cat food commercial so as to torment detainees at Guantanamo. Detainees were also subjected to popular songs by the likes of Eminem and Rage Against the Machine. What Liberace would have done to an observant Muslim, I can only imagine, but it is a mad genius who realized that ordinary American culture can, with repeated exposure, be nearly lethal. God help us all.
Here's a guy, Richard Cohen, writing in the Daily Camera (would you believe?) about how, when George W.Bush abuses the language, he doesn't just do it accidentally. For example,
calling suicidal terrorists "cowards," naming a constriction of civil liberties the Patriot Act and, of course, wringing all meaning from the word "torture."
And here's how he closes:
The Bush administration has fused Orwell with Kafka in the same way someone fused the cry of an infant with that of a cat from the Meow Mix television commercial. The upshot is Gonzales, ticketed maybe for the Supreme Court because he winked at torture and yessed the president. He's Kafka's man, Orwell's boy and Bush's pussycat. Know him for his roar.