semantic shift: "division"; "air cavalry"; "genocide"

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at YAHOO.COM
Mon Feb 18 14:39:50 UTC 2008

Remember that "platoon" of thousands?  Here's a "marine division" of maybe a dozen:

  1990 Michael Klein in Linda Dittmar & Gene Michaud, eds. _From Hanoi to Hollywood_ (New Brusnwick, N.J.: Rutgers U.P.) 30: Early in the Vietnam section of the film [_Full Metal Jacket_], when the new marine division is being flown into battle in a helicopter, we witness an incident of genocide: an air cavalry machine-gunner...fires on civilians scurrying to cover on the ground below.

  "Air cavalry" is used here generically to mean "any military unit of armed helicopters." The technical definition is more specific.

  Most interesting is "genocide," which here seems to mean "the murder of one or more innocent members of a depised racial or ethnic group."

  In 1990 Dr. Klein was Professor of Media and American Studies at the University of Ulster.


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