Please Mean What You Say

"The bookkeeper" by van Dijk.Source: Wikipedia

I love words.I am in love with their sound;and I'm not alone: Dylan Thomas once said that it was not the meanings of words which originally attracted him to language,和声音一样多。But more than just the mellifluous music which many of the best words possess,I am,also,不断地对他们的目的感兴趣-他们的意义。

When Shakespeare wrote in his Sonnet №73:

When yellow leaves,or none,or few,do hang
Bare ruin'd choirs,where late the sweet birds sang.

he is not just creating an image of autumn,leaves dying,and empty branches.In addition,he is creating a secondary image,by comparing the empty branches with an empty,破旧的教堂,minus the roof.他在用语言玩游戏,在表面上创造意义,in addition to a simultaneous underlying meaning.

A week or so ago,the great film maker Bernardo Bertolucci died.事件,although sad,立刻让我想起他最好的一部电影里的一句台词,The Great Emperor.At one point,皇帝年轻时,played by Wu Tao,complains to his teacher Reginald Johnson (played by Peter O'Toole) about having to do his lessons and learn language properly.奥图尔的性格告诫年轻人,除非你能说出你的意思,then you can never mean what you say.The fact that I saw that film only once,and many,many years ago at that,仍然清楚地记得那句话,indicates what an enormous impact those words have had upon me.

During Donald Trump's election campaign,and throughout his presidency,there has been a plethora of discourse,both in print and social media.But even while I try to find virtue in the many critiques of Mr.Trump,my ability to do so is most often hampered by the fact that so many of these articles are badly,or at leastinadequately书面的。

例如,“夸大其词”这个词已被多次用来形容布朗先生。Trump.A cursory search (using any search engine) will show that on the first two pages alone,there are more than 25 references to Trump,“夸大其词”这个词被用来形容他。其中许多消息来源包括CNN,,and reputable sources of information,for the most part.

所以,“夸大其词”是什么意思?Let's consult Merriam Webster:

Bombasticadjective定义夸夸其谈的:marked by or given to speech or writing that is given exaggerated importance by artificial or empty means:marked by or given to夸夸其谈.

好吧……那它是如何定义夸大的呢?Here is their definition:

Bombast — noun: pretentiousinflatedspeech or writing (e.g.political bombast)

If you keep clicking on the links on the MW website,你会发现更多的定义或同义词符合我认为这些丰富的评论员wishthe word to mean.然而,the key explanation here is "pretentious."自命不凡的?Does this describe Mr.Trump?While it is true that what enraptures his supporters so much is the trait of purported "genuineness," this is not an honesty based in fact,but rather,an honesty of describing how one feels.

Throughout his campaign and presidency,先生。Trump has spewed forth a veritable cornucopia of hate-speech against…well…pretty much,you name it (any group,minority,or disenfranchised people).And he is very open about these racist and sexist sentiments.

Now,apretentiousperson hides what they truly feel.例如,they might eat caviar and drink champagne though secretly disliking both,merely for the sake of appearances.你看到的就是你从特朗普那里得到的。他毫不犹豫地提到他的仇恨情绪;nor tell his supporters how he loves to eat at Wendy's (我相信他做任何事都不是为了外表。He appears as if he couldn't care less.

This is the polaroppositeof pretentious.

So why doso manypeople call Trump "bombastic"?Perhaps it is because they see the word "bomb" at the beginning of the word,感觉这是他爆炸行为的描述。Why…perhaps…it is anonomatopoeia!(听起来像是-的词,例如,"buzz.")


These writers,much as I may agree with many of their sentiments,need to be more careful in their use of language.但你不是在胡扯吗?Matthew?Not really.There is a dearth of writing out there,much of it all sound and fury,毫无意义:为了钱而大量生产,or because the writer wants to vent.My opinion is that if you are going to vent,fine;but please do so in a manner that counts for something.

Unless detractors of Trump start writing in a more precise fashion — and not just simply listing all of his lies (something which anyone could do),then they (or rather,we)所有人都有掉进同一个深渊的危险,burbling abyss,consumed and acid-eaten by a morass of clichés,dangling participles,badly-employed split infinitives,and incorrectly used ten-dollar-words — of which his supporters have absolutely no fear (probably because they are not bombastic).

I challenge any and all to join me in attempting to mean,and I meantruly mean,what we say.For if we don't — well…then it's all just sound and fury,signifying nothing.

Helping each other write better. 加入我们.