In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros


Why Politicians Talk Like They Do

A distinctive white toga made an individual who aspired to hold to public office in Ancient Rome easily identifiable. It named him candidatus, "white-robed," from the Latin, candidus, "white," "pure," and "sincere," further enhancing his reputation as our ideal candidate — one known for his candor, today a quality we identify with straightforward and direct talk.

Helping him further, was a cingere, a girdle beneath the toga that held it in place. Adding sub, "under" to it enabled him to succingere, "to gird from below." This made both his clothing and our language succinct — neatly tucked in, rather than all over the place.

Times have changed. Candidates have traded in their white for polyester blue. Purity, frankness, and succinctness are no longer in fashion.

Candor has also suffered, giving way to candid evasion — a term coined by a former President of Yale, describing his speaking style. His forte was the ability to talk for hours on end and say absolutely nothing, yet convince his audience that something significant had transpired.

Can one think of any skill better adapted in this day and age?