Saturday, July 10, 2010

Some more language ruminations

Can we please stop calling the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico an oil SPILL?
This is an industry-caused ERUPTION.

The word spill implies more or less business as usual. A spill is finite. Sure, they are ugly and a bummer for the people who live nearby, but no skin off your nose if you don't. What is happening in the Gulf of Mexico is a lot scarier than that.

The world's waters are ONE. The atmosphere is ONE. We are ONE.
We either get this through our fat collective heads or we are doomed.
I have believed this for a long time: humanity faces a bottleneck in its development, and in order to make it through we will need the best from all cultures and all traditions from all times.
We desperately need to cultivate thinking in terms of and/and, not either/or.

Back to the topic of language use.
Another word that really bugs me is Settlement to describe certain building projects in Israel.
To the average non-indigenous North American, the word 'settlement' calls up images of log cabins on the frontier and brave pioneers in covered wagons. It is a positive term.
How would we react to the term 'encroachments', which is more accurate?

Language is important. Re-read 1984.
Pay attention. Be aware.
End of sermon.

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