trahison des clercs [traizɔ de klɛrk] n.
1.) The betrayal of standards by intellectuals influenced by politics (Dictionary of Foreign Words, Adrian Room (ed.), 2000).
Etymology: French, lit. "treason of the clerks". The phrase originated in La Trahison des Clercs (1927), by Julien Benda, in which the author denounces as moral traitors those who betray truth and justice for racial and political considerations.
"The truth is a little more complicated, not least by Orwell's evident conviction that deceit and domination, to be effective, would have to be refracted through the medium of the intelligentsia. It is this stress on the trahison des clercs that links Animal Farm retrospectively with Homage to Catalonia and prospectively with Nineteen Eighty-Four. The extent to which Newspeak and Ingsoc itself are direct examples or expressions of a trahison des clercs has rarely been acknowledged" (Culture and the State, David Lloyd and Paul Thomas, 1998).
It's time to announce this week's winner of the paragraph challenge. It's...jos xx! She wrote:
From the huge golden windows of the ancient palace, I could see her pale skin as she walked alone through the autumn leaves of the orchard. And I suddenly wanted to touch her face. As she looked up and met my gaze, her sinuous lips suggested a smile...but her eyes were hard. I moved with great celerity when I heard steps coming my way, but instead of going back to the dining hallwhere a huge retirement party, featuring many paeans, was being held for his long years of military serviceI crossed the hall and entered the garden, while hiding behind some trees. “why aren’t you celebrating your husband’s victories with all of his friends?” I whispered. Suddenly she breathed short and she might have broken out into some dangerous ebullition, had not I touched her gently on the arm. Two failed marriages, she sobbed, while she whispered: “plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose..."Great stuff, jos xx. You even managed to work in a little poignancy. Okay, for next week, let's use: alacrity, rara avis, trenchant, shibboleth, droll, velleity, and frisson.