My mind just doesn’t seem to want to settle on one topic this month. I keep coming up with really fine opening sentences and then discovering that the topic I had in mind isn’t the most important thing I have been thinking of lately.
So rather than devote the entire April Blog to one subject, I am going to deal with a number of nit picky things that annoy me.
GUILT! I find that the omnipresent media has made it impossible for me to hate anyone or anything without feeling guilty. Which, you might say, is a good thing.
HOWEVER, in defense of my guilt I offer these examples:
I HATE rats. I have tried not to. I’m sure there is some reason for their existence, but I have to tell you…I can’t think of what that reason might be.
Let’s take a cold look at rats. They aren’t pretty, they aren’t petable…have you ever held one in your hand? They are boney and have that slick looking tail.
I remember once, long years ago, I walked out from a friend’s apartment and came face to face – so to speak – with a bunch of rats who were happily playing some private little game of their own on the front lawn.
My friend thought that was cute. I screamed for a week.
I realize that rats have a right to live. Just not at my house.
I was out on my balcony a while back and I noticed my dog was pawing at a bag of dog food stuffed in a corner. He moved closer to the bag and suddenly a humongous rat bolted into my apartment through an open window.
Death and damnation! Now what?
I obviously couldn’t go inside…there was a rat in there…so I leaned over the balcony railing and waved frantically at cars passing by. For 45 minutes – give or take a few – I did that and many of the friendly folks going by waved back, but no one seemed to understand that I was in need of help.
Short story long, I finally gave up. I picked up my dog and raced through the apartment and out the front door. Then down the hall to report the whole problem to the apartment manager.
Very sensibly he set a trap for the rat., and several days later, he announced triumphantly that he ws successful. The rat was dead. Long live the cheese!
Now here’s where the guilt comes in. Because every cause seems to have fervent devotees, hundreds of people are sitting poised, ready to attack, anyone who kills an animal. That rat has been dead for six months and I’m still feeling guilty. Relieved, but guilty.
Oh yes, I also hate squirrels. When you think about it, squirrels are rats with pretty tails and a PR rep who works at Disney.
I have been thinking a lot recently about our language. It is a difficult language to learn I know… But it is a language in which one can paint wonderful, lyrical pictures.
But today, very few people take advantage of the thousand upon thousands of words just sitting around, waiting to be called upon.
Instead of searching for THE one word that says exactly what someone is trying to convey, we have created an alphabet of substitutes…
Take LOL for example. Or even worse…ROTFLMAO
Admittedly that saves a lot of ink, but is the writer likely to be found rolling on the floor laughing his ass off? It doesn’t seem likely to me. For several reasons. The first of course being that it is impossible to sit at the computer and call up that message
Most of the lines chosen to be followed by such a collection of letter are really not all that funny. Very few professional comedians actually cause members of the audience to roll around on the floor. Which, considering the condition of most floors is a good thing.
THE SUBTLE WAYS REPORTERS INFLUENCE THOUGHTS.
We are all well aware of the fact that our news sources do not, as journalists were supposed to when I was first learning the craft, present the news without prejudice.
Most of the time the slant is so obvious as to be ridiculous. But sometimes and more dangerously, it is subtle. A tiny thought that one person is more capable than another can be planted and absorbed without notice.
My favorite example of this occurred way, way, way back when I was still a student.
It was an election year and we had two newspapers in Philadelphia. One blatantly Republican, the other blatantly Democrat. Both were reporting an important televised event in which the two candidates were to speak.
The first paper wrote: “Mr. Fleming was asked to open the meeting.” Suggesting, but never saying that Mr. Fleming was more worthy. The second paper read, “Mr. Fleming was chosen by drawing the long straw, to open the meeting.”
Message sent? Mr. Fleming DID open the meeting, but not because he was the better man, just lucky at picking the long straw. Both reports were true, but only one was honest.
So…what’s on YOUR mind?
WORD OF THE MONTH
DECLIVITY: it isn’t the word itself particularly. It is just that it reminds me of my sister’s love of words. She used the word declivity to mean a pot hole. Now come on…That’s pretty grand! Actually declivity mean something sloping or a downward inclination.
Great piece as usual BB, however! There are domesticated ‘prettier’ rats that make wonderful little pets…very sweet and tender…especially when properly cooked. No really Beebs, they really do make wonderful pets…the food reference I just couldn’t resist. Hunter had several growing up, we adored them all.
I have seen and even held some of those “prettier” rats and no matter how hard I try, I can’t like them or see their charm…but it’s nice they have someone on their side.
I enjoyed your post, which was an enjoyable read, and I found some agreement in all aspects of it: I can’t find it in me to like rats, and I’m a stickler for language. I don’t use language shortcuts, even on face book. Emily Dickinson, my favorite poet, always found the right word and/or combination of words to express her ideas. Finally, I refer you to FOX News as an example of using language in the most disingenuous ways to slant the meaning of events to suit their purpose.
By the way, I always appreciate your kind comments on my photographs.
Speaking of language, Betty: I think that mélange or potpourri are two words that would do some justice in describing your post. What word, other than the one you gave it, would you pick?
Medlley? Olio? Mix or assortment. And then there is farrago which is WAY out of my comfort zone. But thanks for the comments.