Hello Kitty Notes: thinking about word order

I wrote a small scrap thinking about tomorrow’s scene and my characters went beyond it onto a philosophical tangent; I don’t know if I’ll go into that digression in the actual story, but I still found it interesting, particularly in light of Obama’s State of the Union and Mitch Daniels’ State of the Absurd.

The extraneous scrap I wrote was, in part:

“What if I didn’t show up?”

“But you did. If you didn’t I might have needed it. But you did and I didn’t; and also I didn’t and you did.”

“And also? Didn’t you just say the same thing again?”

“No, I switched the words around.”

“But it was around an and, making them equal.”

“You’re thinking math. Language doesn’t have reciprocal properties. Where the words are placed always matters.”

Language never is just the words with static definitions. Where they are placed in a given sentence can affect their meaning. Further, the surrounding sentences, paragraphs, pages can all affect it. Further further the whole baggage of environment brought to the reading continues to revise the work long after the writer is done.

I currently hear a lot of dangerous rhetoric in politics, where I have to wonder: are they fully cognizant of their use and being wickedly crafty or are they just being stupidly irresponsible?

The solution for us as citizens is the same either way: we need to be fully engaged and critically thinking consumers of the plethora of information being fed to us, regardless of the source.

For a blog that does an excellent job of that, check out The Russell Report.