Add to that “POLS”…




This post is about LANGUAGE.  Sometimes conversation is clarified by sharp, specific, brief expression.


[Our source, reason for pausing here, is David Von Drehle’s article on the mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel, that appeared in the June 10, 2013 issue of Time.]

For MORE use the DOOR…



First, an apology to three sets of people:  (1) philosophy/science/religion junkies (this does not concern that); (2) conservatives; and (3) liberals. This is not about politics. (perhaps a neutral observation, as in science…?)

It concerns what the “new” mayor of Chicago* who left the White House wrote, did, and says he’s doing, and the sharp way writer Von Drehle presented this.

But first some terms and some new meanings associated with them:

HACK — Someone who “cuts in” to a system for personal gain. (spins off the traditional def. of someone who produces dull, unoriginal work, presumably to get or keep a job)** [And check out the last para below…]

WONK — Someone who’s studious, hardworking, and takes excessive interest in minor details, esp. of political policy.

POL — Short for a politician.

According to what I read, Emanuel is “done with…Washington’s gridlock and posturing” after working “eight years in the White House for two great Presidents” (his words). Now he’s running things. After “stepping down” (my words) to a big troubled city he declares: “This is the happiest I’ve ever been in public life. I’ve always wanted to be mayor.”

And he’s dug into the details of bringing about change which has won him new friends (including several big businesses) as well as a passel of enemies–and, after 3 years of diligent work, a positive cover story, “Chicago Bull,” on Time. And we’ll spare you the details except to say that he has spearheaded big changes in education reform, job creation, making streets safer, and wooing big business.

Now to the LANGUAGE part. Time describes Emanuel now as “A Wonk in a Hack’s Body.” This, in my view, is a concise stringing of 4-letter words to convey significant meaning. According to a book Emanuel wrote with Bruce Reed (V.P. Biden’s chief of staff),  A Plan: Big Ideas for America, political life is divided into “2 warring camps–not conservatives and liberals–but hacks and wonks.”***

According to Emanuel in his book, “Hacks are pols who play hardball to win elections but yawn at policy.” According to Von Drehle, “On the 5th floor of city hall, however, the mayor has gotten in touch with his inner wonk.” And he reports that in a recent interview Emanuel said, “I am a wonk desperate to get out of a hack’s body.”

Well…let’s just pray that as he walks the streets of his new neighborhood at night, this doesn’t happen too quickly.

Still…passing along info accurately and quickly is a fine art. We hope to do that at adozenseconds.


* “New” as of 3 years ago.

** The def. is courtesy of KID (Knapp’s Internet Dictionary). As we chase changing definitions, we welcome Emanuel’s insightful words.

*** Acc. to Von Drehle. I haven’t read the book.