Tag Archives: language

What’s in a Name?

…that which we call a rose

By any other name would smell as sweet.

Not quite, Willie. At least, not on this side of the centuries. Things have changed since you’ve gone. We no longer necessarily adhere to the logic of effect following cause. You see, dear Bard, these days, if something smells bad we change what we call it. For example, if a terrorist blows up a marketplace, we call it ‘a man-made disaster.’ You may ask, “What is a terrorist?” Well, he’s someone like Richard the Third. Yet, some people call him ‘a freedom fighter.’ We also call homicide ‘suicide’ when it’s convenient for some of us to do so. Now, risk-free destruction of property goes by the name of ‘protest,’ not ‘vandalism.’

I can go on with many more examples of fraudulent changes in our language, but I’m not sure you’ll understand them in the context of the English you remember. Now, many people smell something foul and call it a rose in an effort to dispel its odor. They ask us to ‘understand’ those who berate, denigrate, and despise us. They would have us believe that calling murder ‘a man-made disaster’ somehow equates it to a natural disaster. There are several elaborate definitions that attempt to distance ‘murder‘ from ‘man-made disasters.’ When you had unnatural events occur because of Macbeth’s reign of terror, you reinforced the meaning of the word ‘murder,’ you didn’t soften it. Good for you.

You also had a teenager tell us, …that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet. She said that of a rose. In her innocence, she spoke the truth about labels. She also said, ‘Tis but thy name [Montague] that is my enemy…Romeo, doff thy name. But that is not the same as calling terrorists ‘freedom fighters.’

You see, Willie, there are millions of people who are confused about the meaning of the word ‘freedom.’ They identify with terrorists, fanatics who fervently believe that a woman should obey her husband in every way except one: she is permitted to fight for Islam and be a ‘suicide bomber’ without her husband’s authorization. It would not surprise me to learn that female suicide bombers are not only homicidal but also genuinely suicidal in order to escape their unbearable repression.

P.S. Speaking of words, Willie, I love the way you amalgamated Latin and English. Congratulations for the exquisite blend of the two. I’m impressed.

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