July 1, 2011 Leave a comment
I have heard, over the past few months, President Obama’s foreign policy strategy described as “leading from behind.” I’m not sure whether this is his phrase or someone else’s, but it sure rings negatively in my ears. Here are two examples of this concept:
Forward he cried from the rear
And the front rank died.
And the general sat and the lines on the map
Moved from side to side.
Pink Floyd, Us and Them
And of course, Larry Niven’s Puppeteers, the well known cowards, used the expression “he who leads from behind,” shortened as the “hindmost,” to refer to their leader.
I hope that the administration becomes more aware of how the words they use will be taken – this sort of dissonant phrasing, intended to be taken positively, makes it sound like the user isn’t a native English speaker.