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Vanishing Subtlety

February 17, 2019

I wrote a piece yesterday. In focusing, hard, on getting the 1,000 words right in a circumscribed amount of time, I realized I could not remember how to spell “subtlety” and my “Autocorrect” didn’t either. I had attempted spelling so poorly that the entire Artificial Intelligence Universe could not enjoy the great glee of correcting me.


Metaphor is dangerous. Symbolism is often self serving. But in the last generation perhaps millions of human editors no longer edit. Once of the reasons I was motivated to be correct in this draft was this piece had one of the surviving editors.

That loss of another eye, dare I say, an objective eye, has meant that our verbal cuisine has lost modifiers. Like fast food, our language has either become as bland as a Quarterpounder, or as overwrought as a flavored potato chip. We have all the calories of prose communication but none of the nutrition.

So we grow fat.

And screaming.

There is no subtlety because we have lost the value of thoughtful communication in favor of Reality TV.

I am beyond amused when aghast reporters wail, gnash and moan at the intellectually monosyllabic syntax of our President. All the while these same virtual editors, with self-righteous gravity, look directly into a video machine as if it were a human, and offer cultural salvation declaring that lies, ego and bluster have completely ruined Western Civilization.

So much for subtlety.

Instead we have emogi’s. We have buttons that “Like”. Or “Share”. Or “Block”. We do not think, we react. We judge. We surf our own wave, never paddling out to another.

Hyperbole gets those “Share”’s, not subtlety. We are Pavlov’s dogs begging for the petting of “likes” in a universe that has no questions beyond the click.

So fewer read, more click.

With the subtlety of a binary switch, “Like” or “Block” are the reactions to tweets, messages or shares. The physical universe is collapsing to a two-dimensional reality that is slowly killing the 3rd Dimension of subtlety.

Life changes, subtly or on the Internet.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 17, 2019 9:03 pm

    “Emoji” 😀

    Another great observation Duo! I’ve worked with teens at our church for thirty years. I remember one of my boys exclaiming that another guy was a loser because he only had a couple likes on his posts. It’s sad how shallow our culture has become, each of us seeking attention through our selfies or posts on Facebook. We instead should be seeking the best for others, investing our time and effort for something other than ourselves. However that requires selflessness, love and compassion, and those things are on short order these days…:-(

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