Language can be a funny thing. While it is meant to communicate truth, often it doesn’t……. sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. It can be powerful and helpful or destructive.
When I was a kid, I remember going to get some new pants; the salesman said, “hmmmm, I think he’ll take a HUSKY.” I knew what he was saying. He was trying to let me down easy, not ruin my self-image. I thought, “go ahead and say it, I’m a BLIMP, a TUB, …. I can take it. Well maybe I couldn’t take it, since I remember it 65 years later.
“Doublespeak is language that deliberately obscures, disguises, distorts, or even reverses the meaning of words”. It may take the form of euphemisms in which case it is primarily meant to make the truth sound more palatable or even virtuous. (e.g. ethnic cleansing for genocide or pro-choice for abortion)
I love the “Lord of the Rings Trilogy”. J.R.R.Tolkien, the author, was a philologist, a studier of words and language. His words could paint a picture, portray fear, inspire courage. I still recall Gandalf and Frodo’s conversation at a desperate moment …
“I wish the ring had never come to me, I wish none of this had happened”, to which Gandalf replied “so do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide, all you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you.”
During our current times, I can find myself thinking like Frodo “I wish none of this had happened …. yet, what am I to do with the time given to me?” Will I use my time for good, to build up and not tear down…to encourage. Saint John Paul II said this prayer every morning …” O Holy Spirit, inspire me how to think, what to say, how to speak, when to be silent, how to act, what to do, for the glory of God, the good of souls, and for my sanctification.”
May this be our prayer. And, by the way, for the sake of full disclosure…
“I still take a HUSKY”.