The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas on July 8, 1966 · Page 2
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The Courier News from Blytheville, Arkansas · Page 2

Blytheville, Arkansas
Issue Date:
Friday, July 8, 1966
Page 2
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P*«e Tw> - BIythevllle (Ark.) Courier News - Friday, July r i r otifit at cJLa are profoundly meaningful; some people would go go 3ar as to say that words conftitute the only meaning we theory, language is have. By, this fickle. Good language, Uk« • good woman, is something that comes our way only after the most ardent courting, and, on those exceptional occasions when a magical phrase flirts more than a means to communication of ideas. Language is itself these ideas, and without it the ideas do not exist. My editor argued for such theory one day this week when he tried to relate to me the ecsfasy and agony of an event thaUhad happened to him the nighf before. What follows Is a paraphrasing of MB account: ' "I had been thinking of an editorial I planned to write, on the subject of citizen apathy in this election season. I had developed several notions that partly explained the public boredom, but hone of them, I knew, was quite explicit enough. So I gave up and made ready to go to bed. "to that moment between relaxation and sleep, when the mind — like an athlete's muscle before a second wind — released some secret energy of its own in the general dissipation of tension, a phrase flew into recognition! One single, magic phrase that said all, explained all, and tied the other theses together! "I knew that by following out the nuances of this phrase I could discover the truth that so frustrating!; had eluded me so far. I had it! All the evidence, all the absent argument was in that phrase ,and I went to sleep with the beatific hope of rising in the morning and beating out my discovery on the typewriter. "But: in the morning, the phrase was gone, and with it fte magic insights. Not all my cogitation could shake it loose from wherever it had flown. "And, baby, all I could do was do the best I could with those conclusions, unsatisfying as they were, that I'd already reached. 1 Thbse of us who took English Lit courses seriously might remember Coleridge's description of how the concluding phrases of his remarkable poem "Kubla Khan" escapedhim when he was temporarily interrupted by a "person on business;" Coleridge had composed sorfle « incredibly beautiful lints before-the interruption, but found to his horror upon resuming the work that "though (I) still retained sorne vague arid dinj recollection of the general purport'; of the vision, yet, with tfte exception of some eight or ten the rest had passed away like the |mages on the surface of a stream into which a stope has been cast, but, alas! without the after restoration of the latter!" * * * Language, like a w o m a n, Is Today In History By THE ASSOCIATED Today is Friday, July 8, the 189th day of 1966. There are 176 days left in the year. Today's highlight in history: On this date in 1894, president Grover Cleveland declared martial law in Chicago as the result of strike disorders. On this date In 1889, John L. Sullivan beat Jake Kilrajn in the 75th round of -the lastbare-knuckle heavyweight boxing championship fight. In; 1900, the U.S. sent troops to China to suppress the Boxer Rebellion. In 1907, the famed Ziegfeld Follies was first produced. In 1943, Japanese suicide planes heavily damaged two of the largest British aircraft carriers in the Pacific — the In- difaligable and the Victorious. In 1946, the Allied Council of Foreign Minister? agreed to issue invitations for a peace conference in Paris. Ten years ago — The lay-offs In Industries dependent upon steel ncared the 100,000 mark as ; a crippling national steel strike entered its second week. Ffve years ago .- President Kennedy met at Hyannis Port, Mass., with three of his principal advisers. The session was described as a wide - ranging discussion of the problems of Germany and Berlin. One year ago 1 - After the second straight day of civil rights marches in Bogaluia, La., two Negroes attacked a white man, shooting snd n- riouily wounding him. __ with our vision, we are damned if we hesitate to grasp it, as the lecher is damned who, in the early chance of a conquest, says to himself, "But, wait a minute! Am I really sure she was smiling at me? ' Yes, Charlie, she was really smiling at you, but you've blown it now, and don't blame the lady. Most of us have experienced variations — more modest, perhaps — of the disasters that befell Messrs. Haines and Coleridge. The man to whom a redeeming phrase occurs too late to effect the Outcome of a personal ' crisis laments, "If only I'd said that!" What he means is, "If only I'd been that! Which I could have been if I'd only said that!" We are, after all, so largely what we say. No matter the vulgarity of William Jennings Bryan's public nose - picking! When the man spoke, his words lent majesty to his person. It is the eloquence, not the mucous, that we remember when we think of Bryan. So It is "with the rest of us. We are what we say. The man who begins a sentence for the fifty-seventh time with Maxwell Smart's "Would you believe...." is begging us to disbelieve not-only his imminent sentence, but anything else he might say. By allowing his vocabulary to be determined by the worst sort of communications hack, he tells us that quite likely his personality is pre-fabricated in some equally dismal pool of cess. The man who says, "Our company's coverage is excellent in tentis of benefits," is not going to sell me any insurance. He can have no idea of what he is trying to tell me, or else he would have said, "Our company offers excellent benefits." One can speak (and act) "in terms of" Chinese, of four-letter words, or of any other linguistic form, but if there is a special class of terms for "benefits" outside language, I am not aware of it. There is a vast supply of such machine • made cliches, and hey are odious because they drain the substance from our real talk the way a cancer cell steals nourishment from an organic cell. Particularly odious are such phrases as "Sorry about that!" (meaning, in effect, that nobody sorry at all) and "I'm no lelieveing It," a counterpoint to he Get Smart phrase that shows encouraging signs of •caching obsolescence after five-year vogue. Perhaps the worst offender, since it substitutes for and effaces the sentiment it is intended to convey is the phrase, "We seem to have a problem in communicating." Yes, baby, we sure do, and, as long as you talk like that, I hope we always will. One must confess in all humility that we journalists — and that includes we e g o t i s t s-at- large — have wreaked our own horrid cliches on the public. We have "cited;" we have "briefed;" we have "called for;" we have "termed;" we have even, Heaven help us, "orientated" and perhaps we should be shot for all this. But let us .plead in our defense that we are distressed men. We lie awake at night hoping that, ere midnight falls, the Goddess of Words will tell us all. And if she reveals as much as five precious words to us we hope against experience to bring these treasures to our typewriters before they evaporate into the night. It is usually a futile hope. It is frustrating, in terms of anything you care to mention. ttememoer p«y Your GASOLINE Price Reduction ETHYL 31 9 Reg. 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