The Power of Words

If you ever wondered about the power of a few words, consider this item by columnist Al Kamen, who writes “In the Loop” for The Fed Page of the Washington Post:

“The spectacular political collapse of Japan’s Yukio Hatoyama was already well in motion in mid-April when we added a tiny push by writing, after the big nuclear summit here, that the then-prime minister was ‘hapless and (in the opinion of some Obama administration officials) increasingly loopy.’

“The Japanese media went into overdrive, and on June 2, Hatoyama, who had agreed at one point that he may have been ‘loopy,’ resigned. And the word itself made its way onto T-shirts, iPhone covers, computer cases and such.

“A Japanese T-shirt company, ClubT, announced ‘Loopy’ as the winner of the most popular T-shirt message in 2010, and we recently discovered that it was named – by one of many year-end polls and lists in Japan – one of the 60 most popular words in that country in 2010.

“According to a Web site called Cartoon Leap:

“In April, the English word ‘loopy’ captured the fancy of the Japanese media,’ the listing explained, ‘after a Washington Post columnist used it to describe Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s recent behavior, particularly with respect to the issue of how to handle the future of the US Marine Corps’ Futenma Air Station in Okinawa, a major sticking point between the two countries.’

“Speechless.”

Kamen’s words obviously have more power than mine. In my columns I’ve used “loopy” to describe innumerable public officials who are still holding office.  But this is America.

– Robert Haught

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