Saturday, July 31, 2004


Value n. A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable.

Numbers have values. Money has value. Words have values (or else you are reading gibberish.) And, of course, people have values…well, supposedly. What I value and what true values are is a difficult bridge to build. Let's say I had been raised among a head-hunting tribe in South America. One of my traditional values would be found in taking the head of any person who transgressed my area.

So, not only are the terms "family values" and traditional values" also subject to scrutiny, but someone must answer as to where values actually should come from. Does a society have values simply because it flaunts the word around regularly? Do politicians have values because they give speeches about their values?

Having values in the generic sense is nothing to trumpet. Values can be in serious error, even traditional values (see World History in general.) So we cannot boast in merely possessing values. This "desirability" is the flaw in the definition if not the concept as we perceive it today. Maybe it is a desirable value to limit our family size due to overpopulation. Maybe it is a desirable value to see the government expand and govern more areas of our lives. Maybe it is a value to see the unborn given a right to life. Maybe it is a value for every person to have the same income and the same possessions. Maybe it is a value to support a strong military.

"Everyone did what was right in his own eyes."

Friday, July 30, 2004


Convention.  n.  2b: an assembly of persons met for a common purpose; especially : a meeting of the delegates of a political party for the purpose of formulating a platform and selecting candidates for office.
Interestingly, the term "contract" occurs as a synonym to the primary definition of the word. Was the DNC a contract? "Convention" has become confused with "party" as a balloon dropping occasion when a group of people, Democrat, Republican, or Baath,  celebrate the things they have in common and completely ignore their differences. The "general agreement"   seems to be the most emphasized part of the word's meaning.

What do Harold Ford, Jr. and Ted Kennedy have in common to be convening about? Are Democrats in Mississippi in convention with Democrats in Massachusetts? Did Zell Miller ever sit beside John Kerry at the DNC? Of course, Kerry wasn't even there until his turn to speak. Was Kerry a part of the convening process or a guest speaker brought in to stimulate the festivity? Conventional wisdom suggests "promotional event" or "propaganda fest" or "gathering of GOP opposition" or "Demopalooza" might be better terms.

Those certainly were nice balloons.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

To start with

How many words are on the Internet? Some estimate there are now nearly 250,000,000 domains out there, more words are being communicated than ever before. There are anywhere from 450,000 to 1,000,000 words in the English language, depending which source you consult. Add to that a whole culture of words that have either been created or evolved on the Internet and the possibilities become mind-boggling. 

Why then are words getting such disrespect? They're getting kidnapped, abused, twisted out of shape, and sent back out as if nothing had happened. Words like values, integrity, truth, and "right and wrong" are being rewritten like 20th Century Russian history. Diversity has taken on an entirely new look. Faith could mean anything and everything - I think I even had some for dinner.

Certainly, words do take on new meanings as society changes. We snicker now when we drive on "Gay" Street. "Search engine" would be another example, having nothing to do with train engineers or flashlights. Completely new words, like Henmania, also keep cropping up.

While I refuse to limit myself to only Webstering through the English language, I do hope to base much of the content matter of this blog on words and the ideas that they are supposed to represent. I do not consider myself a linguist, but the whole issue has become increasingly interesting to me the more I've studied both English and other languages.