On NPR the other morning, Hil was quoted as saying, "The possible missile launch that North Korea is talking about would be very unhelpful." Was this a purposeful understatement? Was she being sarcastic? Or is this just more politician double-speak, as in, "Don't you dare, you bastards, or you will be permanently uninvited to our birthday party and we will tell everyone how much you totally suck." Seriously, word choice. Since when does North Korea try to be helpful?
Then I wondered, can "unhelpful" ever be used without irony? If you are unhelping, aren't you hurting? Or undermining or destroying or distracting? I guess it's more diplomatic to say something was "unsuccessful," instead of "a failure," but "unhappy" is about the same as "sad." And when you are talking about something like a possible missile launch
, the un- prefix doesn't seem like quite enough.