Where The Cliché Meets the Road

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Watching television news this evening (I know, I know) I have heard yet again the latest cliche de jour. Some Congresslady or other was praising Mayor Nagin of New Orleans to the heights, and one of his spectacular achievements was apparently that he “spoke truth to power.” This was the power to the Northeast, the federal gummint, located in the D of C, and we should not infer that he was down on the beach, speaking truth to a different kind of power coming in from the southeast. Anyhow, I have been trying to figure out, in its latest clicheish incarnation, what speaking truth to power is actually supposed to mean. Contextually, it appears to mean “speaking lies to weakness.”

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