As a civilization we have agreed that words in any language have specific meanings. While we have built in a fair bit flexibility by giving words more than one meaning, we have not yet agreed that words can also mean the exact opposite of what we have agreed in the first place that they mean. There are synonyms that mean a word can have many similar alternatives. And then there are antonyms which are the opposite alternatives to that word. Synonyms and antonyms are not the same but on the two ends of the lexicon. (I hope my distilled sarcasm is coming across here).
Take for instance , the word ‘Exclusive’. It has ‘Exclude’ in its roots which means to leave out. Its precise Latin etymology says it comes from a combination of ‘Ex’ which means out and ‘Claudere’ which means to shut. Together it means shut out. When you do the exact opposite of that, meaning,for instance, if as a politician-author talks to just about any TV news network that approaches, not only does it completely lose its meaning but it is downright ludicrous. As a civilization, we cannot possibly function like that if we want to be understood by one another.
So when former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks “exclusively” to news anchors from CNN, Fox, ABC, CBS, NDTV, Martian News, Lunar 24/7, FIFA TV and just about anyone carrying what suspiciously looks like a camera and microphone it means she has not excluded anyone. She has excluded me but that is neither here nor there since I did not approach her staff for an interview. I can say it with absolute certainty that had I approached, I would not have so much as got a response, not even polite regret.
The point is her media Normandy landing is not “Exclusive”, even if you write the the X several point sizes bigger than the rest of the letters and give it a bevel or 3D rotation effect. What Clinton has been doing in promoting her book ‘Hard Choices’, is actually being greedily “Inclusive.” I am introducing a new sign for the networks to consider.
I had done the basic piece about this a couple of days ago but chose to use it today. I noticed that Jon Stewart did also point out the absurdity of Clinton’s “exclusive interview” appearing everywhere. I want you to know for the record that I was in no way inspired by that.
In her interview with Barkha Dutt, Group Editor of NDTV, Clinton points out that Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has been a “sectarian” leader who is not inclusive. What Maliki has been doing can be legitimately called ‘Exclusive’ because he has been systematically excluding the Sunnis from government. Now that is an appropriate use of the word ‘exclusive”.
I have nothing but admiration for Hillary Clinton for being someone who can choose to get the broadcast media falling over each other to give her an exclusive. I am on record as endorsing her for president as well as a necessarily women presidents for the next 240 years. The point is not about whether she is capable or not. The point is about how the broadcast media slobbers at the first sign that she is giving “exclusive” interviews.