“Human nature is potentially aggressive and destructive and potentially orderly and constructive.”
Some Profound Language
When I was in seventh grade I got a growth spurt. Celebrating, every doorway that I passed through, I’d leap high and tap the top of the frame with my hand. It was great.
And, it might have been annoying too. Or fingerprints on the top frame. My mother said, in passing, “Oh, it is just Seventh Grade Syndrome”. Now, you and I know that there is no such thing. It worked. Because my behavior was dismissed as common, I no longer did it.
Behavior control through language might be the most powerful control that we have over other human beings. It galls me that Orwell warned us and we missed it and, instead, react to deliberate machinations*.
We saw the overt weaponization of language in the McCarthy Era. Men were dismissed as hysterical or having a hissy fit and, when framed with those words, defeated as limp. How I wish that one man would have had the courage to say “Those are fighting words.” and punched him in the nose. But that doesn’t happen when Congress is in session.
The lesson is all over the McCarthy speeches. And we missed it and react to it today. They literally used words like “I have a hard and firm policy that I will thrust it into the forum”. That language is still used today and if we’d just recognize it as weaponry, we could not be moved by it. Masculine and Feminine language is being used on the battle-field and it works. It is chilling to see the masses moved by language alone.
Lyin’ Ted Cruz. It is childish and we see it as childish. It works. Language is powerful. We must see it on the surface before, I say before, we look at the message itself or run the risk of being swayed.
On the flip-side, and there always is one, is the use of etiquette. How I wish that I’d been taught the skills of diplomacy, a lost art in our society.
When one uses etiquette, with the foundation being that your goal is to make the other as comfortable as possible, it acts as a mighty shield. It deflects rude behavior and harsh language. Amazing that this powerful tool is neglected so much.
Absorbing another’s foul language or manipulative language with the shield of etiquette means that you can not be pushed or goaded to act without consideration. A parry to the thrust, so to speak!
I am reminded of the business meeting in Pretty Woman. Their etiquette was elevated to the extreme as seen with the instant rise when Julia stands up, it was very formal. And it had to be. Otherwise, when one man destroys another, blood would be on the floor. With etiquette comes grace.
It is not only politics at all. It is everyday and all of the time in every facet of your life. I remember my high school coach saying “He’s got his panties in a bunch”. I’m still not sure what that means. The coach was dismissing some real upset behavior by feminizing it. And, oh how I wish, that the student would have turned and said, “You calling me a fag?” and punched him in the nose. The coach deserved a punch in the nose. I guess his rude comment was one-step-away from saying “fag” and he got away with it?
Today I wish for you to hone your etiquette skills to shield yourself from weaponized language. And, if someone says that you are being hysterical; punch him in the nose.
*If you watched the Impeachment Trial of Donald J. Trump, you saw his defense do the Orwellian thing of “black is white, white is black” with very sincere voices. Same with Moscow Mitch, he did it too. All of time.
One thought on “Some Profound Language”
This is such an excellent essay, and of course so timely. The juxtaposition of etiquette and using words as weapons is powerful. It’s always good to point out gaslighting, even if the perpetrators continue to call black is white and white is black. I think often people are just self-serving. If the liar is lying and it benefits them they’ll let it go, often adoringly. That is, of course, until they realize they’ve been betrayed. Too late.
Then the mob will turn.
It’s so hard to look out for those folks, who adamantly defend the person who could care less about them and would drop them in a New York minute. They are being used. We’ve seen it before and it’s happening now.
Nice work Kubla.
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