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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Losing the Art of Communication

Finally got around to putting my blog all together and my first post is concerning something I witnessed online yesterday.

It started out innocent enough.  An online writer's forum discussing the events taking place in England and the sudden visible increase in perceived racism.  One writer was struck with inspiration and wrote out a quick poem:

                        Racist, never, no.
                           Not even to,
                       A fat Black Paki
                             Like you 

What followed next was an outpouring of other writers' outrage.  They demanded an explanation and apology.  He was accused of being racist and ignorant.

Another writer finally stepped up to give his interpretation of the poem, which was the same as mine.  It had been written as a satirical social commentary.  Unfortunately, when the author of the troublesome poem returned to the board, he felt obliged to take it down and offer an apology.

The thing that struck me most about the whole episode was the inability of so many to read past the words written and see the author's intent.  One of his fellow writers and attackers even admitted to not understanding poetry and preferred 'plain speak.'

If other writers are so quick to come to such a misunderstanding, what hope do we have of our readers not doing the same thing?  In this age of having everything spelled out for us, have words and phrases lost their nuances?  Do readers now have a 'what you see is what you get' mentality that we, as writers, now must be conscious of when we put pen to paper?  
As a reader, I hope notAs a writer, I dread it.

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