Stop the conversation

September 1st, 2012
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“It’s not a conversation the Romney campaign wants to have” -

Analyst on Fox News, July, 2012

It seems everything these days is a “conversation”. A discussion is a conversation, a debate is a conversation. A conversation is a conversation. In short, the word is becoming one of those over-used terms applied anywhere and everywhere.

If these catchphrases have something like a natural life span, we must surely be close to the peak, and can look forward to its slow death. I thought the “tipping point” for “conversation” was during one of the myriad Republican debates last fall.  Mitt Romney was trying to pin Governor Rick Perry to some of the tough language the latter used about Social Security in his book, “Fed up”. Trying to dodge, Perry insisted that “we ought to have a conversation” about it. Romney, quicker than usual at the draw, rebutted with “We’re having a conversation right now governor. We’re running for president”. Touche.

What Perry, I think, meant is that there should be a national debate, or open debate on Social Security. But of course this now had to be called a “conversation”.

The only good thing about conversation is that it has more or less displaced the wretchedly pretentious term “dialogue”, which seemed so popular a while ago. Again, discussions between two groups would be referred to as “entering into a dialogue”. This seemed to be particularly popular in religious circles, as in “inter-faith dialogue”. Now “dialogue” has been degraded to “conversation”, but there seems to be a lot more of it going on.

Who knew there was so much interaction happening? Maybe this is just another instance that proves the adage – “Silence is Golden”.

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By John Weissenberger