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Sorry. Not much holiday message or New Year optimism from me, again looking at the tide of change regarding standards. What began (I recall its early days) as a reasonable notion about the function of “utterances” turned what I’ll label ignorant by tossing aside the distinction between informal and formal “utterance.” What’s the difference?
That, I think, can be condensed down to how serious we are at the time. “Thoughts about independence” would be less seriously formal than a “Declaration of Independence.”
But also, there’s a side of how seriously we take the duty of communication. Communication and common join at root to attempt common understanding.
Easy to neglect the “co” component of communication reminding us “co” does not mean mono as in monologue. An article such as mine, a speech, news casts, and normal conversation is done as monologue with one side saying while the other listens.
I can’t directly react to you nor can you respond on the spot, but you’d better believe that in order for communication to take place the “co” component of dialog has to be in the minds and performance of both parties.
I may not be the best at it, but while writing I try to imagine how a message reaches and hopefully makes sense to a reader. You are not physically present, but if I keep readers in mind as I work I’m at least trying to communicate while doing what’s outwardly a monologue.
Without an audience of readers in mind I merely talk to myself.
Can you see how effortless it was for mass media to hail and promote a successful monologue as an apex of communication?
Effortless and rewarding as self-congratulation touted the success of each effort. Along the way, monologing began replacing the communion of communication.
Yes, I do mean to suggest communication has very old ritual elements, even somewhat religious as an indicator of bond between two separate parties or visions. And isn’t it in ways miraculous that we sapiens make this attempt often as we do.
Other species, as we know, communicate, but do any of them do it as much or build entire cultures around the languages they use?
The unpleasant comparison I make between prostitutes, actors, politicians, and media people is based on too often seeing the slick monologue side win out over the more difficult (and damn near impossible when attempted with some) task of suggesting the importance of dialog, of an exchange of views rather than more handing down of vaunted opinion.
A way you can tell how pervasive the monologue style has become just listen for the heavy use of emphasis used by news and political people to flog us with their specific intent. Both sides employ excessive use of emphasis and of leading or pejorative expressions. A report should not do that.
To the contrary, a report should make a deliberate effort to avoid prejudicial cues and terms. Yet every day I hear blatantly pointed language masquerading as reportage when it is not.
Perhaps best example of this is left and right both prattling about “our democracy” when never bothering to say what the term democracy is supposed to mean.
Applied the way I often hear it, “democracy” refers only to success by one political view or other. A well-known group made effective use of the term to bolster its appeal by calling itself a Democratic Labor Party, the Nazis.
It’s wise to make damn sure what others mean by their use of democracy as it is when “justice” or “fairness” come as covers for programs lacking in either of those touted values.
You can’t know but will likely assume my definition meets yours what I mean by democracy or justice.
By not telling you my definition I’m being deliberately deceptive by courting agreement without substance.
So, is my view of democracy as one system prevailing over another or of a particular result being just and another not? In my view both are about (like it or no) process rather than result. That’s because there are plenty examples where democracies are authoritarian democracies and justice is defined as meeting out consequences for not compliance.
These say-one-thing-mean-another applications are unfortunately common. The most favorable way to be dictatorial is giving ill action a complementary label serving a good purpose. People marched to what was their deaths at Stutthof being told the gas chambers (probably first of their kind) were showers.
Social beings that we are, deceiving us is not difficult because we like to believe the best rather than worst of others.
Now back to my grousing about the society of whores and politicians, I hope you’ll object to the connection as extreme and nasty.
That’s how I’d prefer it, too. But with acting and whoring both needing to be convincing, you can see how well politics fits in by favoring successful popularity over other social aims such as better understanding, debate and dialog.
Funny as it may sound to many of you (though I hope you’d look into it some on your own) the modern-day politician is very much a model of supposedly out-of-fashion Roman oratory. Not only do assumedly learned current day politicos act in set phrases and gestures as would an ancient orator, there are times when the speech of some lacks only the senatorial toga to better pull off the impression.
It’s a good sign when readers balk and resist agreement.
I say this because too often the problem rests in seeking agreement which like advertising desires others to buy a product or accept an idea. But, there’s no reason you have to agree with my monologue, which at best isn’t even half the process.
Without you the reader/listener monologue is nothing. Communication isn’t a solo act with an aim of demonstrating for others how correct or wonderful is the performer. Communication isn’t one-way.
The gravest thing I might do is think and act as if you don’t know as much about the puzzle of life as do I.