Against all pleadings and caution, I have set out to make this writing. The first time I informed a friend, who happens to be a veteran in the art of advanced doublespeaking too, that I would be writing on this topic, he contradicted the idea strongly and made all possible efforts to dissuade me. His reason was simple; advanced doublespeaking should not be a dime a dozen. But my veteran friend need not have worried at all, because the art of advanced doublespeaking is in itself a scarce commodity. And what do you know of a scarce commodity in Economics? A scarce commodity has a high price tag, such that only few can afford it. You’d understand why this is so as we proceed.
So, what is advanced doublespeaking? Well, some things are better understood when illustrated than defined. Someone’s mother does not need to show them in a dictionary what hunger means before they realise that something which comes out of the kitchen bears a solution to it. Thus, for a better understanding, we will first look into typical illustrations of advanced doublespeaking before we have it defined.
Modara, Ilesanmi and Irele are three lads. Irele has a loaf of bread, of which the other two are aware. Modara steals Irele’s bread and exchanges it with Ilesanmi for a slice of yam. Modara eats the yam. Ilesanmi eats the bread too. Irele comes back, searches for his bread and finds it not.
“Modara, the loaf of bread I kept here, were you the one who ate it?” Irele asks.
Modara answers, “I have not tasted bread today. The only food I’ve taken today is yam.”
“Then who could have taken my loaf of bread? Ilesanmi, was it you that ate my bread?”
“Irele, that question is insulting. Besides, the only bread I have eaten today, I paid for it.”
“Where did you buy it from?” Irele asks Ilesanmi.
“I’m not under any obligation to answer that embarrassing question. But if you must know, the bread was actually gotten from where you bought.”
Unsure of how his bread got missing, Irele walks away.
In the above illustration, how many people told lies? The answer is none. Everyone of them was speaking the truth. The almost unnoticed thing that occurred was advanced doublespeaking. Instead of Ilesanmi responding Irele with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, he simply made a true sentence that redirected Irele’s line of thought. This is advanced doublespeaking. An advanced doublespeaker hardly answers ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, and when he does, it could be because an inappropriate question was posed. Although, in the illustration above, advanced doublespeaking was used negatively, it can as well be used positively. To drive home that point, we will consider another illustration.
Ogbonlaye is fed up with seniors in his hostel. They can extort a junior until he goes ‘dry’. He is left with only few cubes of sugar now, out of the ninety cubes in the packet he bought.
Agbalowomeri, a senior student, lazily walks up to him.
‘Give me some sugar,’ he says.
‘Do I look like one who has sugar?’ Ogbonlaye snaps a reply.
Agbalowomeri makes to leave but hesitates. He looks into Ogbonlaye’s eyes intently and asks, ‘Don’t you have sugar truly?’
Ogbonlaye looks him in the eye too and responds softly, ‘My father says it’s unhealthy for the male. He discourages it.’
Agbalowomeri takes it that Ogbonlaye doesn’t have sugar and leaves.
In the second illustration, no one told a lie as well. Ogbonlaye had sugar. As much as he did not admit having sugar, he did not deny it either. Statements he made were true, though inconclusive. This is the art of advanced doublespeaking. An advanced doublespeaker makes true but inconclusive statements. He leaves the other person to draw conclusions himself from the statements made, and in most cases, wrong conclusions are made. An advanced doublespeaker can sometimes give unnecessary but relevant information to divert the line of thought of others.
Now that an idea of advanced doublespeaking has been created, we can then look into its definition.
Doublespeaking is not a term with which everyone is familiar, even though many use this device in everyday language. Doublespeak is a language deliberately constructed to disguise or distort its actual meaning. The term ‘doublespeak’ probably has its roots in George Orwell’s book, ‘Ninety Eighty-Four’. Although the term is not in the book, it’s a close relative of one of the book’s central concepts, ‘doublethink’.
In the early part of this writing, advanced doublespeaking is stated to possess a high price tag, which makes it rare. This high price tag can be likened to mental alertness, a prerequisite for a successful advanced doublespeaking. The ability to think very quickly and proffer an appropriate response to whatever questions posed qualifies one as an advanced doublespeaker. The need for this ability becomes more pressing because an advanced doublespeaker sometimes needs to provide more information than required to cover up for his refusal to answer ‘direct questions’. He must learn to be elusive in his responses when necessary.
As you must have observed, this writing treats ‘advanced doublespeaking’ and not just ‘doublespeaking’. In recent times, the concept of doublespeaking has been seriously mitigated, hence the need arises to explicitly establish the dichotomy between ‘doublespeaking’ and ‘advanced doublespeaking’. While doublespeaking is now being interchanged seamlessly with terms like euphemism and political correctness, advanced doublespeaking is not. Advanced doublespeaking is rather a technique applied to extricate oneself from undesirable circumstances by purposefully using inconclusive words without distorting the facts. The power, credibility and effectiveness of advanced doublespeaking of one is directly proportional to the conception weakness of the other. Therefore, an advanced doublespeaker capitalises on the readiness of the other to jump into conclusion made from his rather inconclusive statements.
PS: This article is specifically written to suit the understanding of common men who cannot comprehend the ambiguity of more apt terminologies to describe the concepts mentioned above.
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