How’s that for a Wednesday title?
Yesterday I became involved in a discussion on an alumni listserv that started out being about our classmate George “Marty” Zinkhan and evolved (or devolved) into a discussion about the nature of evil and the use of that word in discourse.
We found ourselves discussing it as a family (while watching “The Daily Show”) — and several people pointed out to me that I am not shy about using the word when linking it to Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Dubya, and others of that ilk.
When I use the term here, I am nearly always in a provocative and/or slightly aggressive mindset. It’s used with disgust, exasperation, and retaliatory energy. I tend to use the word more or less as a weapon — and generally against only those who use it themselves.
As I write this I realize that when I do it, it actually feels quite childish and unsatisfying to me — on the level of name-calling. If I step back and think about the word itself — and really think about what it means (or what I think it means) I am left wondering why I would ever use it at all. I can imagine applying it to particular acts, I suppose — but applying it to a person or entity is quite a bit more Biblical than my worldview sustains.
It’s a dismissive shortcut — that’s how it feels to me. I use it when I am being provocative and flip, and feeling angry.
When I use it, I recall my mother and shudder. How well I remember her railing against the Catholic Church and the way that they indoctrinated people — children especially. Meanwhile, her own children were being indoctrinated by her repetitive rants.
She called the Catholic Church evil for what it did to children. Do I call her evil?
I don’t. It doesn’t help me, either to understand her or myself. It feels more like swallowing what she spewed, and then regurgitating it.
I’m sure this will be continued, however — it’s certainly got me thinking, which is fun!
PS — The Phillies and Red Sox won last night, and there’s a WPS game this evening. I’m just saying…