Words That Bug Me

Sunday, 19th March 2017

March 19, 2017


This is an insightful statement by a young novelist in France. I have to think that it could just as easily have been said in the US, or in any number of other countries.

Of the many insightful things in this article, this one struck me as important: “Louis is equally angry about what he sees as the “global fascination with the extreme right” that has hijacked the news agenda and made everyone a prisoner of the far-right discourse. “Even the most ridiculous thing said by Marine Le Pen or Nigel Farage makes headlines, while anyone who is young, who is trying to invent a new discourse, is ignored. It’s a shrinking democracy: the right speaks to the right, the left speaks to the right, where is the left’s discourse? What’s even more dramatic is that the whole world is speaking the language of the extreme right; Marine Le Pen is imposing the language, the subjects we talk about.”

He’s not saying that these things will go away if we just stop talking about them. He’s saying that we legitimate a way of framing things every time we talk about it, even to push back. Do we need to push back? Sure we do. But we also need a space where we’re not taking these things at the terms of reference.

For me, that starts with a number of words that have always bothered me. Not because they aren’t important, but because I strongly object to the ways they are framed and the connotations they raise. These include:

“Move forward”
[lots more, which I’m sure others can provide if they so chose]

I feel like every time I use of of these, I have to put an asterisk beside it and have a whole explanation about how I’m using it. Otherwise, the philosophically vacuous and morally questionable version of the word that tends to circulate, mostly as established on the far right but which has seeped into public discourse in general, will be the default version.

Anyway, short version – article good, writer interesting.

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