Old Habits Die Hard

Those of you kind enough to read my blog know I usually happily and willingly witter on about words and language, and you know how much it fascinates me. This article is along a similar vein, in that it deals—albeit briefly—with how we use language; how we grow up accepting things that, when given consideration, I believe need changing. It also touches on current events.

We have lost a number of young friends to suicide; so dreadful, such a shock, so irretrievably permanent. I read recently of a journalist who’d been gently corrected by someone for writing that a person had ‘committed suicide’. I read on with interest. The ‘committed’ bit is a remnant from days past when those who died by their own hand were buried outside consecrated ground; suicide was a crime. After all, murder is ‘committed’, a break-and-enter is ‘committed’, and so these poor souls—for whom life had become utterly intolerable—also ‘committed suicide’. Thank goodness we have changed our laws and views since those, quite recent, days.

I presume those folk think the world will be better off without them. How wrong, in all but a few cases (Hitler, for example), they are. They are missed, mourned and leave their loved ones behind with a welter of thoughts: could we have done anything to assist; what could we have done; at what point should we have realised…? Perhaps Chris Cornell’s death has brought about this introspection, who can say. So, next time you are about to say someone committed suicide, just pause for a second.

I cannot let this pass without addressing the lies the Islamist suicide bombers are fed. Do they really believe they will get to Paradise to be with those seventy-two virgins? And what happens to the women who are subjected to this dogma and who die for this appalling doctrine? Do they get their choice of virginal young men? Yeah, right. It horrifies me that with each atrocity committed (yes, committed) by these evil people, peace-loving, gentle, hospitable, people—just like you and me—are pilloried by those who consider all Muslims to be the same. What rot.

Then my thoughts took me to labels.

We talk of asthmatics, alcoholics, addicts of all sorts. We define these people by an affliction—not by who they are. I make a determined effort to talk of people who suffer from asthma, epilepsy, arthritis etc. and not to call them asthmatics, epileptics, arthritics. When it comes to substance abuse it’s harder, but I still dislike the labels we attach to those whom nature has made differently from those lucky ones like me who don’t ‘need’ stuff to get by. I do, though, have certain medications to assist with daily life. Does that make me more alike those addicted to nicotine, heroin, alcohol, speed etc, than I’d care to consider deeply?

Oh yes, and if you really want to challenge yourself, read Brit Bennett’s excellent, thought-provoking essay, http://jezebel.com/i-dont-know-what-to-do-with-good-white-people-1671201391. I cannot stop thinking about it.

Next post will, I hope, be more cheerful.

Category(s): Creative writing
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