Adam Gopnik, writing in The New Yorker, about a tough issue, speaks up about speaking up, plain and simple:
“Martinez’s brave words put me in mind of a simple point, which I failed to make in a long essay about language this week, or didn’t make strongly enough. The war against euphemism and cliché matters not because we can guarantee that eliminating them will help us speak nothing but the truth but, rather, because eliminating them from our language is an act of courage that helps us get just a little closer to the truth. Clear speech takes courage. Every time we tell the truth about a subject that attracts a lot of lies, we advance the sanity of the nation. Plain speech matters because when we speak clearly we are more likely to speak truth than when we retreat into slogan and euphemism; avoiding euphemism takes courage because it almost always points plainly to responsibility. To say “torture” instead of “enhanced interrogation” is hard, because it means that someone we placed in power was a torturer. That’s a hard truth and a brutal responsibility to accept. But it’s so.
“Speaking clearly also lets us examine the elements of a proposition plainly. We know that slogans masquerading as plain speech are mere rhetoric because, on a moment’s inspection, they reveal themselves to be absurd.”
When we have something important to say, when we want to speak from the heart, and get our point across, I think we need to be direct.
Yes, we can write persuasively, or convincingly, but, often we dance around our main points, and use less than direct words. When we do that, we risk not truly communicating.
Writing helps me express my emotions, and to dig deep into my soul, letting me see, finally, what it is I am feeling, and what I truly care about. If I strive to be direct in what I write, then I understand my point, and I can get it across to you.
Often, the issues I care about need to be discussed with some bluntness. I don’t need to dance around the topic, but go directly to the heart of it, and say what I mean. I need to think, and write, clearly, to the point.
So, let me get down and dirty, and get to the meat of what it is I really want to say, what I really think about something near and dear to me. In that journey, I hope to touch upon the Truth of how I see the world. I might even learn something.
Neal Lemery, 5/27/2014.