“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master — that’s all.”
– Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871)
Gem of a quote, isn’t it? Clearly Humpty Dumpty was an early postmodernist. But he was a figure of satire; today, people with Ph.Ds say such stuff and expect to be taken seriously. Which just goes to show, yet again, that you can’t do satire any more: Reality has caught up with it and surpassed it.
There are so many modern examples of people taking the Humpty Dumpty approach: Politicians, judges, executives, and (the largest category by far) everyday people. Bet you can think of examples. Let’s hear ’em.