Wednesday, September 16, 2009

LABELS (WCHL Commentary)

We are back in silly season, also known as campaign season. There is nothing wrong with you if you thought of this as a season without end, because it does seem that way. What you can depend on in silly season is the use of lots of labels to describe people or their positions. These descriptive terms or epithets are hurled for a purpose; as the hurler hopes that the label will resonate with those who read or hear it. They don’t have to be accurate or appropriate; the goal is to paint that picture with a short phrase or word that will stick.

But how are label hurlers sure that everyone will get the meanings that they intend? Just last week a local reporter labeled some candidates as “pro-business.” Wow! Is that a good thing or bad thing? Each of us decides, but do such labels really capture who candidates are? Do we call elected officials who disapprove a business project “anti-business?” Makes you wonder, doesn’t it.

Then we have an editor of a local paper who seems to love writing columns that seem designed to poke a finger in the eyes of many readers. He had another one of those interesting labels the other day: “Einsteins of liberal elitism.” Hey, it’s a free country so he’s as free to write as he wants, just as I am free to adopt a new label for myself: “former subscriber.”

And in case you might be so inclined, you can’t in this case come back with “YOU LIE!”

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