Sunday 19 August 2012

Words have meanings

I'm all for simile and metaphor; they make language colourful and engaging. Sometimes they can even highlight aspects of a particular discourse that wouldn't otherwise be apparent.

Hyperbole, however, needs careful handling if its use is not to be counter-productive. Comparing people to terrorists, for example, in such a way as to suggest that they are equivalent to terrorists, is not helpful. Unless they really are threatening innocent people's lives with bombs or other weapons — in which case we're not talking about a mere comparison, but a classification. If you're doing those things you're not just like a terrorist, you are a terrorist (and I don't mean that metaphorically).

Words have meanings, and if you're trying to make a point — to be understood as clearly and precisely as possible — you should think carefully about how you do it. Throwing around reckless and invalid comparisons will only make you appear as a crazed ranter.

The above is but one aspect brought up by this article on the website Network for Church Monitoring: "American Women are Under Assault from Christian Republicans"
(Via Lola Heavey on Facebook, originally from PoliticsUSA.)