By Jim Hagarty
Punn Ditt Inc.
I have spent a lifetime with words. In fact, it has been my use of words that has kept a roof over my head and food on my table.
So you might think I love words. All words. One one level, maybe this is true. But some words, and I can never predict which ones it will be, eventually get on my nerves if they are used repeatedly in mind-numbing ways. At that point, those words are transformed from their initial job of representing ideas into insults, defamation and evidence of an absence of critical thinking skills. Or thinking-at-all skills.
Unfortunately, the U.S. election has produced a truckload of annoying phrases and words. Such as …
Known for generations as bullshit, horseshit, crap, nonsense, and even lies. Horse twaddle, bull crap, and a dozen other descriptors I am forgetting at the moment. Now, it’s all fake news. All politicians are using it, even Obama. Real news is reporting hourly on fake news, fake news is reporting on real news and fake news is even reporting on fake news. One careful analysis has found that only six per cent of everything that Donald Trump says is actually absolutely true. So Trump is, without a doubt, King of Bullshit Mountain. Long live the King!
I love buttercups, or used to. Those pretty little, delicate, yellow wildflowers that bloom everywhere in spring. But now, the word buttercup is being assigned to anyone who is not fully onboard with America’s new fascist regime. “Suck it up, Buttercup!” and “Buckle up, Buttercup!” are shot like water cannon at anyone who dares object to the prospect of the autocratic, military junta that is about to take over the world’s last superpower. If you are not down with 30 million people losing their health insurance, or with journalists being muzzled like in countries run by dictatorships, or voting rights being stolen from (Democratic-leaning) minorities or the country’s wealth being diverted to the already super wealthy, then you are, my friend, a buttercup. And you need to suck it up and buckle up. Most of all, just shut it.
I’ve always loved snowflakes. For a long time, as a kid, the most amazing thing I had ever heard was that there are no two snowflakes that are exactly the same. How could that be when trillions of snowflakes fall every year? Then someone introduced me to the concept of infinity – no beginning and no end – and that was the end of snowflakes. The idea that there are things in the universe that have no limit, crushed the little snowflake which melted on my tongue. But the snowflake is back, resurrected by rednecks and assholes to be used to put down anyone with any degree of sensitivity. Much like the buttercup, the snowflake is concerned with the welfare of others, even non-snowflakes, and dreams of a better world. To those motivated solely by Selfishness, Greed and Hard Heartedness, sensitivity translates into weakness. And to a true, self-made man or woman, weakness is to be scorned. Who doesn’t know that there is a Superior Race and that the Earth and all its riches belong to that group?
But for me, here is the biggest rub. Fake news, buttercup and snowflake, and other words I am forgetting at the moment, are already leaving the world of American politics and going out into the universe of general discourse. All over social media, the buttercups and snowflakes of the world are taking quite the beating by those who would be considered tough enough to take a punch without crying. You might call them bullies except for the fact that bullies always cry when punched.
More thought is required to come up with suitable words to describe these vile creatures. I’ll get back to you when they occur to me or if I find someone else has beaten me to it.
Till then, I’ll be here, buckled in and doing my best to suck it up.