Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Modern discourse has become muddled by the lowering of semantic standards by corporate media in response to social-media populism. Major commercial media outlets, desperate for paying customers, appear to be following the lead of social media (e.g. Twitter), rather than seeking to lead the way to intelligent coverage and commentary.

Here are a couple of examples. 

"Equal" has come to mean "equivalent" or "same". This is a distortion of the democratic notion that all people are "created equal". The use of the word "equal" in that legislative context refers to an ideal appraisal of all human beings as having the same civil rights to peace, justice and pursuit of prosperity. It does not mean that all people are born the same, with equal abilities and intelligence. Deeming all human beings to be "equal" in this sense diminishes society by reducing its standards to lowest common denominator.

"Multiculturalism" is not the same as "diversity". "Diversity" simply refers to a random distribution of various entities or items which are somehow different in a given sample. It does not automatically refer to race or ethnicity. It does not automatically refer to people, for that matter. "Multiculturalism" is the appreciation, investigation, experience and/or promotion of many cultures. It is not a synonym for "diversity". In actual fact, multiculturalism exists more strongly as a community buzzword in some of the least diverse communities of higher socioeconomic levels. 

The muddling of words in social discourse, especially within on line message boards (Facebook, Twitter) is making society intellectually duller. The comments under a posted video or picture have grown shorter, terser and more homogeneous: "Nice", "wow", "cool". In fact, it is more time-saving to simply click a "like" or thumbs-up icon. WE are managing to treat ourselves in social media like the spoiled children of parents who congratulate their offspring for narcissistic or antisocial behavior. 

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