Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hi ho and so on

Is there some even more than usually sinister plot in the media to use language to confuse and discombobulate the populace? I refer, of course, to the word 'miner', which some time in the last eight weeks or so appears, at least in Australia, to have substantially changed in meaning.

Since when were obscenely rich mining companies making obscenely rich profits called 'miners'?

Miners are the people that Margaret Thatcher brought to their knees in the 1980s. Miners are the dudes with the pickaxes, the dirty faces, the high mortality rate, the not-high-enough salaries and the really really terrible lungs.

Andrew Forrest is not a 'miner', and neither is any of his sorry ilk.

(In the process of checking the date of the UK miners' strike on Wikipedia, I found this, which is too good not to share:
On 13 November 2009, rumours of Thatcher's death were erroneously circulated within the Canadian Government whilst they attended a black-tie dinner, after transport minister John Baird sent a text message announcing the death of his pet tabby called Thatcher. The news was reported to Prime Minister Stephen Harper as the death of Baroness Thatcher, and almost caused a diplomatic incident between Canada and the United Kingdom, but the Canadian Government rang Downing Street and Buckingham Palace to seek verification.)


Elisabeth said...

Wonderful quote. Miners are the workers, mining magnates the bosses.
The media like to reduce ideas and sometimes, erroneously so.

Link said...

In principle I agree with you, but it is always dangerous to generalise (and assume.).
'Miners' the guys with the pick axes, dirty faces, explosives, super duper sized vehicles and loads of grunt power, earn on average, around 100K--not too bad really. They and their wives and girlfriends, husbands etc are also ace consumers who guard their 'lifestyles' passionately, vehmently and jealously--for they know at heart it is all only temporary because it is so patently untenable. They are undoubtedly being exploited by super duper profit earning companies. BHP the biggest bully amongst them (by a goodly stretch), was magnanimous enough to support the cultural lives of the (once were) locals by putting up the prizemoney for a local photography prize--the Muswellbrook Photographic Prize. Winner takes the lot-$1,000. I could go on . . . The problem of identifying these greedy fuquers-- all of them is to pitch the battle between the environment (and sanity) and the MINES.

Kerryn Goldsworthy said...

Link, I sort of knew that, and was just being hyperbolic for effect -- I think what I meant, focusing on the word 'miners', is that when one hears the word one thinks of the horribly exploited miners of yore (or, indeed, the British miners of the 80s, many of whose families suffered terribly) and the use of that word somehow takes away from, and muddles, reader responses to the magnates and their greed.

Bernice said...

Ceilingcat does have a sense of humour...

Andrew Elder said...

A bit like 'squatters' being wealthy landowners rather than impoverished indigents, really.