Dirty Planet, The Mis-Education President 2.10.03
There is a word I have heard bandied about, in everyday conversation, in speeches, in classes , and it bothers me to no end. I’m not the smartest guy, the best kind of rapper, the king of all that’s cool and correct, J-Lo’s taut booty, or the esteemed president, but this really irks me.
My dear friend makes the point also; and it’s popped up everywhere. From people I know. From professors. And from our aforementioned esteemed president.
Somehow, we have forgotten the roots of our words. We have forgotten how to say the most simple of words. And in doing so, we step away from the meaning of that root; step away from the images and perhaps even a culture built around the word; make it a little less real.
This is about the word nuclear. Kids, as Silver says, the word comes from the root “nucleus.” as in, splitting the nucleus of the atom to get all the explosively gooey nougat power to spill free. Now, in thinking of atoms, small and mysterious and tautly bonded, I personally think, shit, if nature can’t split the atom, there has to be something wrong with the concept of doing it with our technologies. That has got to be some shit if/ when we do it.
And from there, when we think of nuclear, we think of “nuclear power plants,” which we associate with “not in my backyard,” and “Chernobyl disaster,” and stickers with atoms flying around protecting the nucleus. That having been said, we know about nuclear power. Heard about it in schools. Have it in the back of our minds from the 80’s.
But, “nu-killer?” It’s got the word “killer” in it. It’s a whole new word. It’s got new resonance, like a new threat. You know, like Iraq. This invention of our Malaprop President seems to have caught on. Maybe my professor was joking. The people who I have personally heard it from didn’t seem to say it facetiously at all. Which disturbs me.
Is the word so hard to say? You say it as it’s spelled, really. New. Clee. Ar. Or Ur. Say it with me. Don’t be propaganda’d by Dubya. Say it with me. This is not a new threat. In fact, this is a threat that we wield over the rest of the world more than a “rogue state” or two hold over us.
There’s no need to make it a new and exotic word. There are a number of things that could bother me about the sudden use of the word… but the main one is this-- stop fucking up the language!!