Thursday, December 10, 2015

The T Word

Some words, even if they bewilder more than they explain, get used like an '89 Accord.  In politics - this is the stupid season after all - there are many such words, but the one that invites our negative-attention today, damas y caballeros, is the T-word: terrorism.

Most people think they know what they mean by the word, when in fact it is generally applied using an unspoken (and therefore uncritical) standard to those one despises, conveniently ignoring at least three things:  (1) whatever you are describing about an enemy is probably also true of a partisan, (2) whatever you declaring terrorist can probably be more rightly assigned to several other categories that are more specific, intellectually rigorous, and useful to increase understanding through an examination of the history and circumstances, (3) and whatever you are calling 'terrorism' is probably attributable - with at least a bit more rigor - to the phenomenon of war (dare I say it!).

I mean, please, the definition of the term 'terrorism' is "the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims."

It may seem like a peeve, but you hear this term now from left, right, and center, and given that (1)(2), and (3) are true, can we have a moratorium on this?  I know I spend way too much time on facebook, and perhaps that is why I've reached a saturation point for bumper sticker political wisdom (oxymoron anyone?).

If you can't do a better job of defining and contextualizing something than to call out 'terrorism," maybe it's time to stand down for a bit.  Reminds me of a Pee-wee Herman skit:  "I know ya are, but what am I?"

Please stop.

1 comment:

  1. People just don't want to look in that big, bad mirror, do they? 'Specially since we got GOOD guns!