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The new ‘C’ word

By Lisa Van Dusen      

The word ‘conspiracy’ has been so tainted by crackpots, including the one in the Oval Office, it may be due for a semantic reclamation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Donald Trump meet at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, on June 28. We should rehabilitate the word ‘conspiracy’ before certain entirely unaffiliated players—like Donald Trump and Russia—begin to seriously target the freedom of speech that might otherwise describe their actions not as random, purely coincidental chaos, but a shameless, cynical hijacking, writes Lisa Van Dusen. White House photograph by Shealah Craighead

Like most editors, I have a bit of a thing for words: where to stick them, how to spell them, whether shi*show requires one or two asterisks to protect the delicate sensibilities of readers. It’s why my favourite quote from the late, great Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee isn’t “I truly believe the truth sets men free,” but “Is dickhead one word or two?”, though both have never seemed more pertinent. (Dickhead is one: Merriam-Webster).

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