The Radicalized Adjective
Updated: Oct 1, 2020
It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Unfortunately, this may no longer be true. Today's common expression, whether written or spoken, has been diluted by the radical use of our most expressive adjectives. Words that once could stir humanity's attention now barely rise above the hum of casual conversation. True outrage expressed in words, has become lost in common occurrence. As the saying goes, If all things are outrageous, then nothing is outrageous. If all things are awesome, then nothing is awesome. If all disagreement ends with an offensive label, then all labels become meaningless. More recently, labels have been followed by accusations. This is especially troubling because the effect is the same - if everyone is accused, then no accusation will be true, and the voices of true victims will be lost within the noise of common outrageous claims.
Ultimately, the result is that humanity is driven to find more expressive ways to demonstrate their outrage. Dramatic video has created new avenues of expressiveness, but video has also become common. Now, words and pictures have been made silent within the noise of digital shouting. Consequently, violence is becoming an all too common form of accepted expression. Unfortunately, violence has no volume control. The benchmark for what is considered a violent outrageous act continues to move to the right, as murderous objectors attempt outdo the last violent act in order to garner the brief attention of the masses.
The continued devaluing of language has significant consequences in humanity's future. Noisy objectors have always existed, but our new existence in the digital world has substantially raised the volume of their rhetoric. Now common discourse is filled with expletives and overstatement that dulls humanities hearing such that no expletive or statement can be heard in serious discourse. Yes, sometimes a well placed expletive is funny, and I suppose the argument can be made that expletives are perhaps best used in humorous communication, and conversely, should be left out of serious discourse. But, again, the risk is that when the expletive is over used in general, that when used in serious discourse the desired effect will be diminished and humanity's senses will be left unstirred.
Perhaps a simple message, but in order for humanity to truly achieve peace, disrespectful discourse must end, and we must protect our language from the viral infection of radicalized adjectives.