“But if thoughts corrupt language, language can also corrupt thought.” – George Orwell 1984
Friday’s confession has to do with a topic dear to my heart, the use of words or the science of semantics. With the pending BC election people need to start paying attention to what lies below the words (some call this subtext) and get to the detail (substance). There may be a bit of research needed but most often just apply some common sense. If a guy is standing there in what looks like a white grad outfit, pointy hat with cowl and a Maltese Cross on it telling me he won’t tolerate racism, well I think you get my point…
We recently watched the American election run on rhetoric and hyperbole. That election was an exercise in how rhetoric can be effective as long as enough polymer is used to avoid substance. If you look up polymer you will find the word “ubiquitous” in the definition. Being a bit more abstract it is not difficult to equate the definition of polymer with societal beliefs. We create what we are based on how we interpret what we are told.
Words are powerful so how we use them can go a long way. How words get interpreted is even more important and interpretation begins the moment the image we associate most with that word happens. On a subconscious level we create a piece of imagery representing that word and will often dismiss an aspect of a conversation because of one piece of misplaced imagery. This is one of the reasons why word-smithing has become a politicians best friend. There is an art to using words that will encourage specific emotive responses and truth becomes a matter of interpretation. Sad but true…
In a recent chat with one of my much younger neighbours (a forty year difference between the two of us) we were discussing words and how the perception they create can vary. He asked for an example. I automatically throw out “manipulate” (setting up for election discussion) and his initial response was one of negativity. But when I put the statement into the context of having seen a Chiropractor for some “joint manipulation” he changed his opinion of the word. The cognitive imagery created by the word changed when the context was established.
Thirty second political ads don’t leave a lot of time to establish context. That works well for elected officials who would prefer your vote and not your opinion. Unfortunately I have an MLA like that which puts me in a conundrum for the election because he does represent the Party I relate to the most but I digress. The next time you hear a political ad telling you how great our economy is doing and that we need to stay the course, ask yourself “why is BC’s child poverty so much higher than the Canadian average”?
The next time you see a 30 second political ad telling you how the current government is working with the federal government to increase economic opportunity, ask where. The next time you hear about “what a great province to retire in” (remember those investors that were just given free rein) look into the results. The next time you see Christy Clark in a hardhat fishing for votes by waving the LNG industry, try to remember when the last time an ACTUAL LNG project started.
And the next time you see that 30 second vote pandering ad based on the great things this government has done for our kids education, ask yourself “why did this government tie up the BC teachers in a 12 year court battle?”. The Supreme Court of Canada can reverse a direction but they can’t make up for the steps lost on the trip.
I find this one particularly disturbing as it relates to my opening quote. We now have a whole generation of kids (2002-2017) who were denied an adequate level of learning due to political ideology which includes the “dumbing down” of education. If you don’t know a certain word or phrase it becomes easy for thought to corrupt language (as my reference to manipulation indicated). Today’s politicians seem more bend on corrupting thought by manipulating the language.
If this government is so dedicated to our children’s well being why are so many dying in care? Why is the former Children’s Advocate of BC (Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond) having to sue this same government? All the massaged messages of the past can’t undo that one.
If you support a free democratic process with all of the rights and privileges associated with it then behave responsibly. When in doubt be your own information checker and verify before giving away your vote. Know the issues not just the headlines. Old sayings are old sayings for reason so “if it sounds too good to be true” it probably is. Skip past the rhetoric and check the substance, after all you just spend five minutes reading this (more if you checked the links), so it is easy to be informed in as little as five minutes per day.
Protect it before you lose it…next, what’s happening to our healthcare? Here’s a teaser for next week, healthcare or health “administration”…lets try honesty
Just one mans opinion…
One thought on “Whispering Words…”
You really do write well.