The power of words is immense. Ideas have the ability to sway emotions, and to spawn their own natural offspring. How one presents these ideas, however, has the power to stifle or to nurture the core message. What is said must have merit if it is to truly have sway, or at least it should be so. But history has shown that golden ideas misrepresented or construed have failed, where ideas bearing no nobility have encouraged crowds to do the unthinkable whether they are from some podium in Munich or in Washington DC.
I value logic. I embrace semantics and philosophical truths. Yet, I have to acknowledge that rhetoric has the ability to obscure truth, to make emotion override reason, and to lead to a lessening of the collective good. That being the case I must respond to Fandango’s question: “In the context of blogging and writing, what do you think is more important: what you say or how you say it?,” that it is how you say it that matters most.
What we write and blog is diminished if our ideas are poorly framed. What we post is as susceptible to dismissal because of “bad writing” as any other form. If we annoy with our grammar, we lose the readers heart. Furthermore, no matter how true our premise, or sound our conclusion, if it offends because of a lack of tact, we have often lost the battle. “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar,” it has been said. It is here that I risk losing support for my well-considered response by equating my readers with flies. Trust me, however, that you are neither small minded insects, or nuisance-some bugs, but the mirrors of, we the bloggers’ inner voices.
It is amazing how quickly good intentioned practices become mere cliché. Greetings do this. “How do you do?” is not so much an enquiry as to someone’s well being as it is a formal hello. The response of “Quite well, thank you,” is the expected retort, as the asker does not genuinely want to know your life story. “Howdy,” while less formal, still generally expects no deep response, though a rustic “Fair to middl’n,” seems an appropriate response. While some in the USA might actually care to hear how someone is doing, the British are far less eager to hear. “How are you,” should be greeted with an “Okay, and you?” or an “All right.” Lately however this has morphed into an “Allright?,” which is responded to with an “Allright.”
Another thing that has my hackles up a bit is the insistence of many Americans to thank Veterans for their service. While the acknowledgement of service is appreciated, it become cliché when it becomes a constant, as a by rote exercise rather than a statement of true appreciation.
Heartfelt gestures are always appreciated by me, and I am sure this is true of most people. But please say what you mean, and mean what you say; and if you mean to be mean, then just don’t say anything.
Six-year-old, Alice was dancing with her doll to the music on the radio. Suddenly, the music stopped and a man’s voice said, “We interrupt this programme with an important bulletin. The United States’ fleet in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii has been attacked by air and naval forces of the Empire of Japan. I repeat, the American fleet has been attacked in Hawaii.”
Alice ran to tell her mother.
“Mother, the Umpire of Japan attacked Hawee.”
Her mother instantly went pale, and stared out into their Nebraska pasture.
“Mother, where is Hawee?” the little girl asked.
“Too close, Darling. Too close.”
Flash Fiction Challenge: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes something heard on the radio. It can be from any station or era. What is heard? A song, announcement, ad? Think of how radio connects people and places. Go where the prompt leads!