Thursday, June 18, 2009

Common Sense (Worn-out language, June 18, 2009 edition)

The initial buzz of digital cable is still present in my household, though it slowly dies down with each passing day. I do my best to see what is available on the media spectrum, and the shouters from differing political commentary perspectives shout one piece of lingo that lost its meaning: Common Sense.

What pushed me toward declaring a new term for the worn out language list involved a digital cable viewing of Glenn Beck. I should have known he was promoting a book, because he was screaming and shouting about common sense, and how politicians, especially liberals, need to have more common sense. Beck has written a book based on Thomas Paine's treatise, Common Sense. I'm not sure how much of a screamer Paine was, but Beck has decided that when promoting his ideas, the shriller, the better.

People believe that they need to scream and/or shout in order to be heard. I have learned screaming is foolish, and my children are the perfect testing ground for this proverb. The more I scream, the less they listen. They may respond to my screaming, but nothing of it is postive. They will scream at their mother. They will scream at me. They will scream at each other. They'll scream at school. It's all part of a vicious cycle.

If a good idea exists, screaming won't advance the idea, the idea should have its own merit. I'm not against marketing, but screaming is not marketing. This is only a small portion of the problem with political commentary. The idea of common sense may or may not have it's own merit--that may be for another post. The interesting thing about how this terminology is used is that "common sense" is presented as a value-neutral term. But the political commentary screamers from various viewpoints use the term, scream it, attempting to shock a viewer/listener into believing that their perspective is normative. Beck screamed that even random liberals thought his writing on common sense is common sense.

Please excuse me for not trusting anyone, regardless of political persuasion, for proclaiming the verity of their common sense. If screaming appears to be necessary, the more screaming uttered, the less thought has gone in to the depth of the idea. I'm sure Glenn Beck will sell a lot of books. Though I'm sure I will contribute in some way, because sometimes I love to watch a train wreck. Sometimes I can't practice what I preach.

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