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Friday, April 13, 2007 

What Are Words For?

Our society sits at a crossroads. You know what I'm talking about. Words were used in an offhanded manner that hurt. People are talking, defending, condemning. Pundits on both sides of the issue are overly heated, sparring with verbal missiles. As an adult, I clearly understand both sides of the Imus debacle. Would I if I were a child? I wonder.

In the Chaos household, we talk about the power of words. As a writer I find myself fascinated by what makes people choose the words they use. Some of it is upbringing, in other cases, it's personality. The way a person strings words together tells you about them. On a smaller, though no less important scale, we talk about "bad words". Words such as stupid, duh, dammit, and yes, even the "n" word, which Cman learned at school last year. We talk about the impact those words make. Cman and I conversed several times about the way words hurt; the way they can leave a bigger impact on a person than we intended. We choose the words we use carefully for that reason.

Personally, I don't give a flying fig which side of the debate you fall on. Americans should learn a very important lesson from this. Certain words are not ok, no matter who you are. Be you black or white, male or female, straight or gay, there are certain words NONE of us should ever use. They are disrespectful at best, damaging at worst. Kindergartners understand this. They understand that it is definitely NOT ok that Mommy gets to say "dammit" when they don't, and they'll reprimand you in a heartbeat for it. What do we as adults lose along the way? When words are equal for all, they lose their power. The issue is simple. The lesson is simple. We as Americans have a fantastic opportunity to make something great come from all of this. Let's teach our kids an important life lesson.

Do as I do, not as I say.

You know where I stand on this. I support free speech. But this is not an absolute right. It's a privilege. And with this freedom comes responsibility. Those who abuse that freedom deserve to have it curtailed or taken away altogether, lest we all lose that privilege through their actions.

Also...hate speech is hate speech. And until ALL sides are willing to stop using it, hate speech will always be an issue.

Thought provoking topic!

On reread, I can see how it would seem that I am advocating censorship. I'm actually advocating equality of words, not necessarily the censorship of them. When words become equal to all, they will lose the power behind their meaning, I think.

well gosh darn it all to heck!

Yer back!


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