Oct 24, 2006

It's just a word. It can't hurt you.

Don't let them fool you.
Give homage to the word.
Pay careful attnetion to semantics.
We don't discuss the heady meaning of the turn of phrase because letters and syllables accidentally fall out of distracted mouths without creedence to their actual intent.
Chosen words, how we choose to say what we mean, have revelatory meaning. And don't kid yourself otherwise.
Just as in the increasing informality of speech, the increase of slang and the slow abandonment of conjugation and tense can reflect an equally casual society, value of a particular phrase, a trend of change in tone can reflect the status and priority of a word's ideal. It's a symbol, so take heed.
The impotence of one word is an indication of similarly changing values.
Any word.
We talked about "nice."
How sad it is that there is not a word, any more, to reflect, really, what we mean we sing the praises of those that make an effort to be kind, conscientous, and just, well NICE.
But what if the increasing dismissal of "nice" in most it's forms is actually indicative of the impotence of such a trait in the eyes of an increasingly cynical and production driven world.

See, they did this study a while ago of successful traits in women executives. Words like "agressive" or "ambitious" or "intelligent", ofcourse "brilliant" peppered the landscape. It was notable that being perceived as "kind" or "friendly" or "flexible" and indeed, "nice" was a handicap. We are not talking about common courtesy or presence of social skills here, but rather the increasing value placed on ruthlessness and selfishness. Indeed, being a bit of a "bitch" was equated with strength of character or aptitude towards intelligent response and savvy business practice.

Is it too simple to say I don't get it?
No, it's simply dishonest.
Because, I get it: if you'll be ruthless and put yourself first in your business practices, you might give your place of business an unreasonable amount of allowances in the struggle to become "number one."
A mercilous dictator takes the world by storm. His faithful and equally ruthless aids help him in this struggle.
But this is just part of the picture, and we aren't at war. or atleast, we aren't at war everhwhere. Despite an overwhelming trend towards battle terminology in even the smallest arenas.

So it might be more accurate to state that I get it and I don't agree and maybe it even pisses me off a little.

I distinctly refute the notion that knowing what you want means devaluing the needs of others, I call to question the idea that notion compromise denotes lack of will, I deny the very base notion that nice people somehow have less character because the are willing to acknowledge the desires and needs of others, because they imply context and empathy to their perception and actions.
I would argue, infact, that it takes a unique strength of character to know what you want or need or believe, and to still walk into a the world with an open mind, and the ability to be swayed by more pressing needs and arguments. I would suggest that as such "nice" people are inately in a better position to learn. To me, that seems...also...smart. Or atleast "wise".

So I don't know. What can I say: I note the word. Note the phrase. Pay careful attention to semantic evolution because it is often the shadow of a changing landscape. Because sometimes, in the name of progress, we leave good ideas behind with our enthusiasm for something better.
Good becomes great. Great becomes outstanding. Outstanding becomes phenomenal. And nice? Well, if good is to great as nice is to...well, lets just say if nice doesn't register a parallel word with an equal promotion to extremity, then maybe we should take note?
Lets just say we better find a new word to impress upon eachother the value of mounting that particular quality as well. Lest it be left in the dust like so many things we have come to miss, and once trusted.

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