Tuesday, August 5, 2014


"In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did things that were contrary to our values."

--U.S. President Barack Obama

Of the many unbearable words ordinary American citizens have to put up with, "folks" gets, in my book, second prize after "homeland."

"Folks" is a faux-populist term used by politicians/bureaucrats to sound down-to-earth 'Merikan. I first heard it in reference to "people" while in the Balkans in the mid-90s, when an overpaid, unbearably arrogant and condescending AID administrator suggested to me (I was then a U.S. diplomat) he was working to make "folks" in that tormented part of the world happy.

In a (granted not totally reliable unreliable) Wikipedia entry, we learn the following about the word "folk":
Danish - folk
Dutch - volk
Afrikaans - volk
Swedish - folk
Frisian - folk
Norwegian - folk
Icelandic - fólk
Faroese - fólk
German - Volk
Scots - fowk

The Wiki entry goes on to say:
During the years of the Third Reich, the term Volk became heavily used in nationalistic political slogans, particularly in slogans such as Volk ohne Raum — "(a) people without space" or Völkischer Beobachter ("popular observer"), an NSDAP party newspaper. Also the political slogan Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer ("One nation, one empire, one leader"); the compound word Herrenvolk, translated as "master race"; and the term Volksgemeinschaft.
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