Lacuna Matata

Each new political era seems to bring new words into common American usage. The 2004 election brought us “NASCAR dad” to compliment the term du jour from the 1992 race, “soccer mom.” The Iraq War is bringing us “Islamofacism,” among many others. The 2000 election brought “chad.”

I heard a new one yesterday associated with the Blackwater scandal – “lacuna.” Now, I’m just a South Dakota hick who has misplaced many brain cells over the years, but that’s a new word for me. I didn’t realize that a “lacuna” is a Latin word for a “gap or missing part.”

Anyway, according to Secretary of State Rice, it seems there is a big honkin’ “lacuna” in the law that prevents independent contractors like Blackwater from being prosecuted in the United States for crimes committed in Iraq. This makes it a lacuna big enough to drive a truck through. But “lacuna” sounds much more refined than “loophole.”

If you’re Blackwater, you gotta love lacunas. Lacuna matata, what a wonderful phrase. It means no worries for the rest of your days. It’s a problem-free philosophy.


3 thoughts on “Lacuna Matata

  1. Like, I’ve seen that “Lacuna Beach” show, you know, on MTV. Is that what you’re talking about? Whatever!

    (Seriously, I hope Rice came up with that word on her own — as opposed to a speechwriter or something — because that poor soul would/should be out of a job. Having just read Benidt’s post about how to actually communicate well, I’m well prepped to cringe at the hard-to-ignore condescension and arrogance — or at least inflated ego — that goes into a surely calculated word choice like that.)

  2. Lacuna mordanta is what we fell into — a lacuna the size of a black hole — when the Supreme Court closed down the Florida recount in 2000. Don’t worry, be president.
    Significant that in the cartoon clip the big guy’s a warthog?

  3. Unfortunately, it was probably someone in our profession, or the dark corner of our profession, who handed Rice her cue card.
    “Here’s a word that obscures and pig-lipsticks the truth, let’s use that.”

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