Saturday, 7 April 2007

Trojan Horses

Words have no intrinsic value. They are simply instruments by which ideas are transmitted. Some people are skilled craftsmen. They can use these instruments to craft great works of profundity, which infect minds with near perfect efficiency. Their words however, are only embodiments of their ideas.

Some of us are less skilled. Ho hum.

For us dullards, some words can come ready made, primed and ready for use; safety catches disabled, you could say. These are labels;
  • Gay
  • Black
  • Schizophrenic
  • Liberal
  • Muslim
  • Conservative
  • Atheist
  • Fundamentalist
These words are Trojan Horses. As a collection of letters they are utterly harmless. Once inside the head however, they can explode with a myriad connotations.

Take Fundamentalist for example. Which is a "strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles". It can also mean violent, dangerous, wrong, intolerant, Muslim, evil, foreign and frightening. Fundamentalists want to eat your children, I'm telling you.

Whoever first juxtaposed "Atheist" and "Fundamentalist" knew what they were doing.

Mistrusted x Dangerous = Terrifying.


Anonymous said...

How about when you read an American newspaper and you see phrases such as "card-carrying member of..." and "state-owned..."?

jamon said...

Card-carrying member of the state-owned fundamentalist atheist group.

I think we should quarantine this sentence.

Stew said...

I like the modifiers "so-called" and "self-styled"

jamon said...

Right then,

So-called card carrying member of the state owned, but self-styled fundamentalist atheist group.

Health warning required?