Letter: Take care with human descriptions | PostIndependent.com

Letter: Take care with human descriptions

Whenever I see it in print, the words transient as a synonym to homeless, I ponder the subtleties of language. Maybe it is because this term hits close to home ­— or should I say my homelessness.

In this paper’s latest use the term transient is used to describe the victim and his murderer in a manner where the intent is to distance the town in which such senseless action took place from the people involved. I know for the victim at least — I don’t know how long the other man has been around but sense he too wasn’t transient — homeless is the more accurate term because he wasn’t just moving through but has been part of the community for more than a decade. He was more permanent a fixture than many residents of our transitory real estate market of second homes, and investment opportunities.

Herein lies the problem. The falseness of the news isn’t in the Orwellian double speak prevalent since the military industrial complex elected an office boy (Truman) as POTUS (to maintain a warfare market rather than downsizing for peace) but in the use of terms that marginalize, put the reality at a distance so as to say these are somebody else’s problems; someone else’s fault. Make it easy for the journalist to sell the story on the “Us against Them” platform gossip mongers prefer.

Illegal alien and immigrant are another set of terms that dehumanize the subject so as to say they are not of us. After all we are all immigrants here. Even the indigenous natives originated elsewhere.

So if we are to solve the problems that beset the post-modern world we need to begin to take responsibility for the subtle energies of our discourse. Our present hypersensitivity to language results from our refusal to own our own.

Our letting others lazily use terms (that really mean different things) set context. The press will ever only report the surface of things, so there is an underlying falseness to the realities that have so much more a tale to tell. I will miss you, Keith.

Eric Olander

Glenwood Springs

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