The unifying simplicity of Robert Frost, Walt Whitman and Eliot is being bludgeoned and debased – replaced by the vulgar (perhaps there’s an emoticon for this?)
In California last week I was struck by the pidgin that is the common currency. A poverty of English of small vocabulary, where all roads lead to “dollar”. There have been many times when immigrants have formed separate language pools – America has been after all the 19th century refuge for German and the 20th century sanctuary for Hebrew. Always though there has been cross-pollination and a renewal of hybrid vigour to American thought.
There appears now to be a new rudity, a combination of reduction and crudity. Language forms our pattern of thinking and therefore action. Not only do we now txt rather than speak thereof, we i-comm rather than talk eye-to-eye. We pay not in kind, or with its alias the banknote – but rather with digits (yes literally fingers and thumbs). Our taxi driver – the new Uber-Mensch (now there’s irony).
Where then the subtelty of the road not travelled, the latent potential of the children in the rose-garden, allowing the hope of amalgamation of fire and rose?
We must speak richly, and by all means simply. We must hear and understand the whole unlikely set of partial conflicts that is our neighbour, and resolve these across the wavebands of our own multiplicity. Otherwise we fall. Divided. Islands of I-land emoting by txt across a widening sea.
Beware the sound bite particularly where it vilifies an “other”. Mexicans, Trump isn’t America. English, Sturgeon isn’t Scotland. Europeans, that’s what we – the British remain.