Words (Used To) Matter

Derek Hunter
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Posted: Dec 10, 2015 12:01 AM
Words (Used To) Matter

Words. Without them we’d just grunt at each other. Given how some people use them, that might be an improvement. But no matter how you use or misuse them, they’ve always had meanings. At least until now.

Words always have evolved, naturally and over time. Some simply have fallen out of favor and no longer are used. “Swell” mostly has been retired, as has “groovy.”

That’s not what we’re talking about here. Now, statements given in plain language are followed by “clarifications,” and flat-out lies are treated as truth. It’s getting to the point we might as well grunt at each other.

President Obama can say ISIS is contained the day it kills 130 people in Paris, and we ignore the disconnect. He can declare the homeland safe from ISIS the day it slaughtered 14 in California, and everyone acts as though neither happened.

A man can go on a shooting spree near a Colorado Planned Parenthood, and before he’s even finished, he’s immediately declared indicative of every Christian and every conservative. But a radical Muslim couple goes on a well-planned killing spree in San Bernardino, and for days the media just can’t put its finger on a motive.

The purveyors of this bastardization of language are, oddly enough, those who work in words the most – the media. The media declared guns the problem after the San Bernardino shooting but rhetoric the culprit after the shooting in Colorado.

It took days of wild speculation about everything from bullying to postpartum depression before unequivocal evidence and an FBI decree forced journalists to admit radical Islamic terrorism in California. It took until paragraph 59 of a 61-paragraph piece on Colorado for The New York Times to report the monster in that case, according to an acquaintance, “‘wasn’t sleeping at all,’ and had ‘been talking about the Devil getting in his head and such.’”

One awful event led to the demonization of any and every American who has a moral opposition to abortion and the other to the demonization of one of the victims as a bigot who had it coming.

One attack led to fundraising by celebrities and media who had ascribed a political motive to the actions of a man who said he was trying to stop Satan from “getting in his head;” the other met with mockery of prayer and stoned silence on the killer’s self-declared “very liberal” politics.

Words have no meaning.

One party is on the verge of nominating someone whose husband questioned the meaning of the word “is.” Hillary Clinton also has vowed to have told the whole truth after each version of her evolving email server story. It was “no classified material” to “no material sent or received that was classified at the time” to “no classified material sent or received that was marked classified at the time.”

We’re now up to nearly 1,000 emails deemed classified. It’s like coming across a unicorn farm maintained by mermaids – we were told these things did not exist; now they’re everywhere.

Still, no consequences or continued questioning for Hillary. Which is weird considering each of those lies were told to journalists, each was “the whole story,” and none of them care.

Have you heard about Hillary’s emails lately? She spent 11 hours before Congress provably lying about it, and the media treated her appearance as if she’d cured cancer.

Now comes proof the military was not too far away to meaningfully help in Benghazi and that, in fact, it was “spinning up” to go to the aid of the Americans under attack but never received approval. A lie that undermines everything Obama and Hillary have said about Benghazi, but the consequence will be nothing.

Barack Obama allows only favorable media near him, as does Hillary. Her last interview was with a former employee and major donor to her charity who is now declared a “journalist” because ABC News wants it to be. Honestly, is there a bigger lie than calling George Stephanopoulos a journalist and allowing him to interview the woman he’d helped quell “bimbo eruptions” with?

If any of those words had meaning, last Sunday’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” would be one of the greatest punch lines to a joke ever. As it stands, the joke is on us.

As college campuses fall to language police, there may be little left to defend in the world outside the quad. If what we say isn’t what we mean, if it’s open to interpretation, clarification or justification after the fact, there’s little point in saying anything in the first place. Which, when you think about attacks on speech and those who speak them, is probably the point in the first place.