News

FAUX-EXPERTS, LANGUAGE, AND GATEKEEPING THE LIVED EXPERIENCE

By Odysseus Ward

The biggest problem with language is that those who are only mildly capable of its use believe that their irrational mutterings have the same value and depth as those who actually take the time to investigate and study a thing before speaking or writing out a thought.

No other human endeavor I can think of seems to have so many opinionated zero investment experts as the realm of writers and orators (this includes educators, scientists and other experts in a variety of fields) who rely heavily on language to disseminate knowledge and information. It does not matter the topic; someone somewhere out there will show up and, despite having their head in the sand for the last 40 years, tell you why you’re wrong. They do this not because you’re actually wrong but because your words, if taken to heart, would undermine or shatter their distorted and comforting view of reality.

No layperson could run up to the ancient pyramids or the Mona Lisa, argue against their value from an irrational standpoint, and be taken seriously. Change the pyramids or The Lisa into a science book, a study, a thoroughly investigated essay all laced with facts, historical context, and data, and suddenly, all opinions matter.

This frustrates me to no end.

Oftentimes I really wish I had a “talent” for something more concrete because dealing with zero investment experts makes me angry, tired, and above all else, extremely disappointed. No doubt, I’d be much happier if I could express myself as easily in other forms as I can with these easily dismissed and/or irrationally-refuted words.

PS. The pettier and admittedly biased side of me wishes that folks were required to have a rationality license before being able to speak or write on any topic. Think driver’s licenses for discourse safety instead of road safety. “Sorry sir, you’re not licenced to discuss this topic. Your Class FF licence only allows you to talk with consenting adult family members and friends about inconsequential events, specific dad jokes, and tacos.”

Odysseus Ward is a world traveler and survivor of many shipwrecks.

NewPeople Newspaper VOL. 50 No. 5. July/August, 2020. All rights reserved.

Categories: News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s