Random Saturdays – Propaganda & Bias

One of the phrases I loathe is, “Now more than ever”.  It applies to plenty of things, but I’m tired of hearing people use it the same way that they use, “literally”, which is to say that they misuse it.  This phrase has been used in so many discussions about biased news and propaganda, as if both of these things are brand new and started in the 2016 election.  The U.S. used propaganda in WWII to get people to sacrifice things like nylon stockings to help the war effort.  We also used it to make people paranoid that Japanese Americans were out to destroy the U.S.  Nazis used it to convince people that they were just trying to make Germany the great country that it deserved to be.  Propaganda and bias have been used in plenty of elections in America’s past, by such celebrated presidents as Roosevelt (Teddy and Franklin).  During the American Revolution, guess what the Americans and the British were doing?  They were fighting with words just as much as they were with weapons.  Propaganda and bias are just things that exist because people with opinions exist.

I wouldn’t even blame it all on social media or reality t.v.  The internet and social media give people immediate access to events across the world.  Whether it’s Arab Spring or a hilarious cat meme, it’s all there before the eyes of the world for immediate viewing and enduring saturation.  As for reality t.v., I never thought it would last.  Thank goodness I didn’t bet on that.  I just think that “Reality t.v.” is a complete misnomer.  Reality is waking up too early to go to a job that stresses you out so that you can come home and pay bills that you hate for things that you barely get to enjoy because you have to go to bed to get four hours of sleep to go back to the job that you hate.  That is reality for those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs that actually pay our bills.  Nobody wants to see that.  Reality t.v. has been around in different forms for years.  People love to watch other people.  Have you ever heard of a little musical called, “Chicago”?  It’s based on actual events that happened in Chicago that involve people being wrongly convicted or freed for crimes based on how well lawyers could sway the opinions of the press, and therefore, the public.  This was decades before Al Gore invented the internet.

None of this is to say that I think things in the world are fine as they are and nothing needs improvement.  There is so much at stake right now, in my city, state, country, and around the world.  If anyone has taken a U.S., European, or world history class, you’ll notice that the nationalistic movements growing in popularity around the world closely mirror similar movements in the past.  Those movements had some positive results, but mostly catastrophic results from which the world will never recover.  This is why it irks me when people act as if all of the divisiveness between political parties, world leaders, etc. is something new.  If anything, I’m worried because none of it is new and we have seen this before.  We fought through this before.  We survived this in the past and said that we would never allow ourselves to get to this place again because we are now enlightened.  Yet, here we are…again…

By the way, I am not citing sources of actual facts, quotes, etc. because this isn’t a political blog.  This is just my place to sort through some thoughts about things going on in my life and there aren’t enough people who read this to make it an effective platform for me to use it for anything other than rambling. So, I do not feel that I’m being hypocritical in this post by voicing my opinions while not citing facts and sources.

I have toyed with the idea of sharing random facts of the week on here, sources and all.  I might still do that.  The facts may or may not have to do with politics, but I’m not sure.  I always forget what I want to write about as soon as I sit in front of a blank page.

Random Saturdays – This Happens All The Time

Got a newsletter from my employer this week that used the word “ideate”.  It rhymed with the other words in the sentence, but I didn’t bother reading past that first sentence because “ideate” bugged me so much.  I know that we all make up words here and there, sometimes by accident and sometimes on purpose.  Jokingly, I will add multiple endings to words like “fantabulosity”.  More often, I will be at a loss for words and stumble over syllables until something that seems like the length of a real word has been reached.  And oldie but a goodie – phototography.  I must remind you, this is not the norm.

Most importantly, I never use these words in a business setting.  My boss and coworkers are pretty laid back, but any time I have to address someone formally in the work environment, I reach back into the far corners of my brain and dust off college, high school, middle school, elementary school, and Sesame Street English.

 

Formal written English is a dying art.  We can blame it on the schools, but that brings up a whole slew of different issues such as funding, testing, etc.  I prefer to blame it on pop culture.  Even when I was a kid, products and shows marketed towards kids used misspelled words like “kool” and “Xtreme” so that we’d know that they were meant for us Xtremely kool kids.  Now, I see kids and young people text each other and write blogs using misspelled or very short versions of already-misspelled and pre-shortened words such as “kewl” or “kk”.  Did we really need to shorten “ok” to “kk”?  (I still write, “okay”. because I’m old and set in my dang ways.)

I suppose it’s fine if the youths want to have some fun with their hip lingo daddy-o.  My problem is that this extends into the workplace now.  There is no reason for a Fortune 500 company to use a word like “ideate” in a newsletter to all employees.  It doesn’t make the employer seem hip, cool, relateable, or even amusing.  It seemed more desperate and lazy to me.  Granted, I’m a word nerd and it drives me nutty buckets when people send me emails at work telling me about how something “effects” them.  Still, I think that work media meant to be dispersed to hundreds of thousands of employees can make an effort to use formal written English.

In that specific newsletter, I believe the newsletter writers were going for amusing since the other words ended in “-ate” and were verbs.  However, nobody “ideates”.  We can develop ideas, brainstorm, or come up with new ideas.  We can write down our ideas, expand upon our ideas, and even trash our ideas.  Whoever “ideated” that word should be “fireated”.  What bothers me most is that I’m sure that person makes at least twice as much as me, but probably three times more than me.  With all of that money, you would think that a person could afford high-end tools like dictionaries and thesauruses, but who am I to tell someone how to spend his or her money?

Then, I used my dictionary and realized that “ideate” is a real mo fo word.

Whaaaaatttt?!

There are multiple companies that use the word in their name.  Know what they do?  They ideate.  Yeah, because it’s a verb.  So, I’m going to shut the hell up about “ideate” now, but I stand by what I said about all the other stuff!