Thursday, January 26, 2012

Three things that bother me #3

This will be the last post in this series I should've called Gripefest.

I think one of the things that frustrates me about society is the soundbite.  It's superficial.  It's easy.  And it's rarely substantive.  I say all of this as someone who uses words every day in his profession and seeks to make positive, memorable use of them.

One for instance will do:  I was watching State of the Union commentary when one of the Democratic commentators talked about how we shouldn't give tax breaks to corporations those who don't hire American workers, etc.  The Republican counterpart commented that his kind of thinking was the path to a trade war (of large or small scale, depending) because, for instance, Toyota, in San Antonio where they build Tundras, would simply (a) not build or (b) bring in Japanese workers.  The original commentator said something in defense of his premise.  And then the other guys jumped on him (former White House staffers included) for being an idiot.

Why would he say such silly things and then try to defend them?  Because they sound good.  And we live in a soundbite-drive and superficial world.  And it's not just in politics.  It's in sermons and speeches and brochures and blogs and commercials and commentary.  Blech.

Words matter.  They have the power of life and death in them.  Long ago we threw away the idea that it's only sticks and stones that hurt.

But here's the problem for you and me.  Because we swim in these shallow waters, we're more apt to think this is normal.  So we participate knowingly or unwittingly because it's just what we do.

A zinger around the water cooler.

A snappish email.

A terse, sarcastic answer to your kid.

Not that I've ever been guilty of these.  You probably haven't either.  But then I remember...
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (Prov. 25.11)
Rarely does that apply to a soundbite.

But that's just me thinking thoughts...

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