Unknown knowns: Hillary Clinton’s ‘other costs’ meant college can’t be free?

by Rashmee

Posted on May 17, 2015



HILLARY CLINTON HARD CHOICESLike most politicians, American or otherwise, Hillary Clinton has a problem with telling it like it is. Saying what she really means. Clarifying things so much that people won’t feel hopeful enough to vote for her.

That’s the jargon-free way of explaining why she said this, for example, on her first official campaign stop in March.

At a community college in Iowa, she told students she was in favour of President Obama’s plan to make community college free, but…

“Even if we were successful in making the costs directly associated with going to college free, there are all these other costs people have to figure out how to pay,” she said. “There are all these other costs, whether it’s books or online materials.”

What did she really mean?

If you didn’t have to pay tuition, you would still need to find money to pay for study materials. And that there is no guarantee that you will have no tuition to pay. In other words, COLLEGE CAN NEVER BE TOTALLY FREE.

That’s plain English but it’s not the sort that creates hope enough to attract votes.

I would say that she is using a technique that George Orwell has called verbal false limbs. He described it as follows: the elimination of simple verbs (stop, spoil, break, kill) and making it a phrase with a noun or adjective tagged on. Examples are render inoperative, militate against, be subjected to, give rise to, play a leading part in. Add to that the tendency to use the passive voice rather than the active (by examination of instead of by examining) and altogether, it seems to be an attempt to give, as Orwell writes banal statements an appearance of profundity.

More soon. Language continues to confound us.

“By using stale metaphors,  similes and idioms, you save  much mental effort, at the  cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself.”           - George Orwell
“By using stale metaphors, similes and idioms, you save much mental effort, at the cost of leaving your meaning vague, not only for your reader but for yourself.”
– George Orwell

Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK

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