Sunday, March 14, 2021

Thumb On The Scales?

      Words mean things.  Sometimes words mean a lot of things.  When you read blogs, opinion pieces and news stories, when you post things on social media, when you quote other people, look very closely at the words and ask yourself:
      - Am I (or was the original writer) weaseling?
      - Were the words slanted to get a result I liked better (or less) than what a plain description would imply?
      - Was there exaggeration to make a point more clearly -- and if so, did it change the meaning of actions or events?

      Case in point: when a bunch of people supporting ideas you favor carry signs and flags on 1x1s and metal poles, they're protesters; when they're supporting ideas of which you disapprove, they're a dangerous mob -- and when they chase you down, wielding those sticks and poles like clubs and pikes, they're an armed rabble.  On the other hand, if they chase after people you don't much like, suddenly "armed" only counts if they're carrying guns.

      Step back and read your words as a stranger would.  Read the words of others with skepticism.  Distrust "terms of art."  Shorthand like "a good shoot" for a shooting found to be lawful self-defense plays very differently to your neighbors than it does to the guys down at the gun range.

      Invidiousness is the order of the day.  We live in fraught times.  We live in a time of very glib tongues on TV and social media, on every side of every issue, and most of them are not after your carefully considered thoughts, they want to hit your emotions -- and if you're not braced for it, they'll bowl you over.

      Don't be a puppet.

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