Words. Without them we’d just grunt at each other. Given how some people use them, that might be an improvement. But no matter how you use or misuse them, they’ve always had meanings. At least until now.
Words always have evolved, naturally and over time. Some simply have fallen out of favor and no longer are used. “Swell” mostly has been retired, as has “groovy.”
That’s not what we’re talking about here. Now, statements given in plain language are followed by “clarifications,” and flat-out lies are treated as truth. It’s getting to the point we might as well grunt at each other.
President Obama can say ISIS is contained the day it kills 130 people in Paris, and we ignore the disconnect. He can declare the homeland safe from ISIS the day it slaughtered 14 in California, and everyone acts as though neither happened.
A man can go on a shooting spree near a Colorado Planned Parenthood, and before he’s even finished, he’s immediately declared indicative of every Christian and every conservative. But a radical Muslim couple goes on a well-planned killing spree in San Bernardino, and for days the media just can’t put its finger on a motive.
The purveyors of this bastardization of language are, oddly enough, those who work in words the most – the media. The media declared guns the problem after the San Bernardino shooting but rhetoric the culprit after the shooting in Colorado.
It took days of wild speculation about everything from bullying to postpartum depression before unequivocal evidence and an FBI decree forced journalists to admit radical Islamic terrorism in California. It took until paragraph 59 of a 61-paragraph piece on Colorado for The New York Times to report the monster in that case, according to an acquaintance, “‘wasn’t sleeping at all,’ and had ‘been talking about the Devil getting in his head and such.’”
One awful event led to the demonization of any and every American who has a moral opposition to abortion and the other to the demonization of one of the victims as a bigot who had it coming.