Friday, March 09, 2007

Manner Of Speaking

As I get older, I rue the changes I see in the way people speak. Perfectly good words such as 'articulate' are offensive to some and therfore not politically correct. Other words that belong in the gutter are widely accepted as somehow conveying the speaker is "edgy' or whatever the latest term being used to describe a person who speaks in the most shocking of terms. Intelligent persons of varied political and religious persuasions use words to shock that diminishes their speech.

Peggy Noonan writes of this in todays Opinion Journal. LINK She recalls that Grandma used to simply tell us "that is not nice" and we learned to regulate our own use of words. In my case, it was my Dad who would tell me that the use of bad language displays ignorance of more appropriate words. I learned to speak well at home. As Noonan noted we did not rely on public censorship to police what we said, but spoke nicely because of internal control.

"We should forbid less and demand more. We should exert less pressure from without and encourage more discipline from within. We should ask people to be dignified, hope they'll be generous, expect them to be fair. When they're not, we should correct them. But we shouldn't beat them to a pulp. Because that's not nice."

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