‘The game is over’

George W. Bush is by no means a masterly orator. Although time and practice have helped the American president to cut down on his «bushisms» – a term coined by the president’s fellow-Americans to describe his slip-ups in speech – and despite the fact that he has reached an elementary standard of spontaneous rhetoric, Bush’s discourse remains problematic, sanctioned only by his huge political leverage. Though Bush remains a poor orator, he nevertheless is a terrifying one. And, paradoxically, his rhetoric becomes even more terrifying as a result of the syntactical and semantic disarray of his sentences. It is also terrifying because of his soft spot for cowboy idiom, an artless slang that no one would expect to hear issue from official lips. And this language is officially controlled by the mind of currently the most powerful man on the planet – and not only at this particular moment in history. No emperor, whether Caesars, Alexanders or Napoleons, ever mustered more power than Bush does nowadays. The «game is over» slogan that Bush used to seal one of his bellicose speeches is one of the aforementioned cliches. The phrase is familiar, even to non-Anglophones, from video games, films and television, cowboy or action movies where the protagonist (that is the good American guy) takes his gun out and sends the message: «The game is over.» Then death takes its toll. Every time has its emperor, and every emperor has his lingo. And Bush’s lingo, indifferent to death, is also ignorant of the value of life. It proves unable and unwilling to grasp the fact that life (or the lives of other people) is more than a game on a video screen and that, once lost, there’s no button to press to start a new game.