A Matter of Language

March 6, 2011

This blog is hard to write in part because I find myself worried so much about tone. Language is inevitably political, so how can I choose just one vocabulary on every related point?

1. I can have lunch with a wonderful Muslim friend and feel a warm sense of pride in what we share, ready to come back and relay that enthusiasm for faith. 2. I might have a fantastic, effervescent conversation about sexism and make a mental list of all the fascinating gender-and-sexuality-related things that it occurs to me to consider. 3. The class I’m in reminds me of the importance of careful research and even more careful articulation, but I can’t stand the idea of sounding unapproachable or lofty. 4. I’m also worried about sounding too sure of myself because I am rarely all that certain about anything. (And so on.)

I think about how some people (myself included) tend to write off experiences that are too one-sided or fanatical, immediately off-put by any of a number of buzzwords. So I try to tone down the zeal a little bit, even just for myself, leaving traces of betrayal.

It’s not about balance: there’s no “right” formula, because they all apply at once.

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One Response to “A Matter of Language”


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