The Best of All Possible Worlds

This is the optimal outcome of the U.S. Presidential campaign at this point.

  1. Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination.
  2. He goes down in flames in the general election, losing with less than 15 percent of the vote.
  3. In his concession speech, he explains he’s been a double agent all along, and he just said all that stuff to expose the fatuousity and corruption of our political system.
  4. He produces documents to prove his case and we see it is absolutely true and also some journalists helped him and he goes back to real estate having gained the status of legendary grandpaw to the new and better U.S.

Sadly, this will not happen. That is not what is going on. He’s said things that can’t be taken back. He’s picked a side and even if it turns out he’s on the other side in his heart, it’s too late. He’s irredeemable.

I’ll be fairly pissed if y’all pick this one post, which doesn’t even have images (but DOES have a music video), and send it viral. I have no doubt that if you all wanted to, you could make a blog post or a Facebook post or even a tweet of mine go viral. I have faith in you. But please, not this one.

Trump is no double agent.

Here’s what’s happening instead.

This guy thinks just because he has a good relationship with the reality TV audience, all he has to do is toss his hat into the ring, and the electorate will willingly place the living, beating heart of our republic in his hands to do with it what he will.

I call bullshit.

Donald J. Trump is a preening, entitled douche canoe. He represents the worst parts of all of us. He believes he can mock our culture and make us like it.

Just because the Republican party sold its soul to the Devil 40 years ago doesn’t mean the United States of America has to sell its soul to Donald Trump in the here-and-now.

Now get out there on your social media and point out just how ridiculous this whole thing is in your own way.

And get your asses to the polls.

I’m done for now.

That felt so very good.

For #1000Speak: On Compassion and Nonviolence

(Welcome, compassion bloggers! I am a host, so there’s a linky at the end of this. If you have a compassion post and you are looking for a linky, do scroll to the bottom without reading and add your link. I don’t mind, and this post is will be here whenever you have the time for it.)

I signed on to publish a post about compassion just a day or so after Lizzi inspired Yvonne to start the Facebook group. I discovered it as early as I did thanks to my friend Gretchen. I knew this was a good idea the minute I saw it, but I had no clue so many other people would come along. I am thrilled to be a part of it, and grateful to all the friends who not only signed on but have given a little of their time and social media space to help spread the word (especially you #WeekendCoffeeShare peeps).compassion_nonviolence_Emma_Quayle

I knew before I even clicked “Join Group” that I wanted to write a post about compassion and nonviolence. I’ve studied political theory and social movements more thoroughly than just about any other areas of knowledge. I rarely get to blog about that stuff, because I am a geeky, audience-building blogger, and social science blogging is a tough market to break into for a dude without a Ph.D.

When I talk about nonviolence, I am talking about more than just abstaining from physical violence. I’m talking about a way of doing positive social change (which I think we could do with a bit more of in my own country). It requires a specific way of thinking and living to be effective. Basically, you have to develop a clear understanding of your ethic and train yourself to live it. And it has follow certain principles, but still be right for you.

If you adopt the the principles of nonviolence as a code and work at the living by them until you master them, you will gain personal power.

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A to Z Day 10: Jargon

Click for A-Z blog list.

Click for A-Z blog list.

Jargon is specialized language, usually either of the technical or academic varieties. It serves a very important purpose: it allowsspecialists to communicate among themselves with a high degree of precision. The problem with jargon, though, is that it’s so precise, and includes so many terms, it sounds like a foreign language to people who don’t know all the concepts. There just aren’t that many specialists in any given field. So you want to stay away from it if you’re attempting to communicate clearly with a large audience.

Thomas Kuhn, in The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, famously suggested that scientists from different disciplines need translators just as much as people who speak different languages. This problem is compounded more by the fact that people sometimes use jargon for the following reasons:

  • Just to seem smart.
  • To prove they are actually as educated as their credentials indicate.
  • Because they’ve forgotten that people outside their field find that sort of talk incomprehensible.
  • As a cynical ploy to win an argument by confusing everyone else into agreeing (specialists who are also politicians are especially good at this one).

I am fluent in several of these specialized languages. I was once asked in a job interview “do you speak nerd?” And I said “yes, yes I do.” Because I know what SSL stands for and what Fortran was. I have a reading knowledge of theology, philosophy, geography, history, and economics; am conversant in the language of literary criticism and rhetoric/composition; and am fluent in the grand dialect of the social sciences.

If just want to bust out with some writing that makes perfect sense to people who understand technology and four academic disciplines, and  is completely incomprehensible to everyone else, I can do that. But really, what’s the point? I’ve never met a theologian/programmer/literary critic/sociologist. Not even once.

My point with all this goes back to day 1. Think about who you’re talking to. If you’re talking to people who aren’t specialists, and you’re fortunate enough to have specialized training, don’t use jargon. Put it in plain, everyday language.

Jargon does have some artistic uses, though. If you can get a good enough handle on some technical language to use it in dialogue, you can use it to make a character seem like a know-it-all, to reveal personal insecurities, to show that they don’t have very good social skills, and to do lots of other things.

There’s even a sub-field of guerilla academics devoted to publishing computer-generated papers just to be funny and call attention to low acceptance standards.