The sociopolitical air is thick with alarmism. The media has gone into full Chicken Little mode, and our news feeds entice with bite-sized blurbs that are supposed to encapsulate entire ideologies. Names like nazi, racist, moron are thrown around carelessly, twisted by constant misuse. That’s the problem with redefining words and inventing catch phrases – they coax a response from the lizard brain without committing to real meaning.
We mustn’t be so quick to parrot information from the title of an article never read, let alone researched. Or to assume the blogger thought out a topic thoroughly because her words drip so sumptuously down the screen. Each block of rhetoric we adopt adds to our personal wall of dogma, and those blocks are haphazardly adopted just because they kind of look like they might fit.
We need to start using language again as it was intended, to accurately convey our thoughts and conduct our internal dialog. When we dumb down language, we dumb down thought as well. If your primary language is lolcat, how complex will your thought process be?
When someone asks you to explain or defend your viewpoint, I challenge you to not respond with a meme or link or personal attack. Sort out your own logic and express it clearly. And when someone tries to express theirs, please listen to understand, not just to respond.
To reiterate, let’s all start reading the fine print before we light the torches. The “spin” is dizzying, fix your eyes on the facts. If someone is ranting about an executive order or a wikileak, go to whitehouse.gov or wikileaks.org and interpret it yourself with an unbiased mindset. Keep that filter of rational thinking in place and watch the baloney fall away from your mind, if not your news feed.
Language does have its limits, so for my next blog I’ll explore the flip side of expression, art. I’m working on a music video to represent the manipulative power of news media.