Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Good Suggestion from Kerlikowske

Though I disagreed with him in a post yesterday, I liked Gil Kerlikowske's suggestion to drop the use of the word "drug cartel" in its description of Mexico's organized crime groups. He suggested "multi-faceted criminal enterprises", which is more accurate in describing their activities (which for many groups include more than just drugs), and doesn't have the connotation of militarily structured organizations. Of course, it loses a good deal of linguistic punch, and will surely get shortened to MCEs in the future, thus furthering the unfortunate trend of over-acronymization. That's why I like "gang"; it's much simpler and more versatile. More here.

In any event, one officials idea won't mean the end of the word "cartel", but if he and everyone else in the US government started doing so, I bet use of the word would eventually fade. Although given the fact that I can't find the above story anywhere in the English media, despite the press conference taking place in Washington, I'm betting the "eventually" would be a long time indeed.


Noel Maurer said...

Me, I'm partial to "syndicate." Counterarguments?

pc said...

Oh I like that syndicates works pretty well, it gives it a certain unusualness that "gang" doesn't. With "syndicate", you separate it a serious group the garden-variety jokers who harass people at the mall. One down side would be the Spanish translation; everyone will have mix it up with the unions. Which, in some cases, is probably unfair to the drug traffickers.