Tag Archives: words

How Occupy London Can Go About Occupying Londoners’ Hearts

By Jason Menard

Earlier this week, the Occupy London movement sent out a Tweet requesting help from more experienced volunteers to help them craft a message – which is a fantastic showing of self-awareness from this group as too much of their message is being defined by outside interests.

Occupy London is a polarizing group – and that polarization comes from their lack of anything tangible to which the average person can relate. You either agree that everything needs to change, or you see this as rudderless, aimless, misplaced, self-serving behaviour. Continue reading

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Insulting Tax Word Games Must Stop When Math is Clear

By Jason Menard

Technically speaking, we’re not morons. So why, in trying to repackage tax increases in cute euphemisms and technicalities, are our politicians treating us as such?

This morning, the City of London’s finance and administration committee voted on what they called a “tax shift,” which would have transferred some of the tax-paying burden from industries (to the tune of a 23.5% decrease) to the residential tax payers (an increase of 1.3 per cent). (The committee voted against the increase).

Because the numbers would basically wash, technically it’s wasn’t a hike, true. But for tax paying citizens already struggling under the weight of sizeable property tax bills (not to mention various charges collected by City-run utilities such as London Hydro), it’s insulting. Continue reading

Finding the Right Steps in the White Guy Linguistic Jig

By Jason Menard

I’m all in favour of using appropriate language. I also strongly believe that the words we choose can harm – and that we should never be careless with our speech. Unfortunately, I hate the White Guy Linguistic Jig that it can sometimes create.

It’s not restricted to white guys, of course. But we’re just so darn good at it! Continue reading

I Swear! Language Matters

By Jason Menard

They’re powerful words designed to provoke a reaction. For some, that reaction is shock, for others its indifference, whilst some feel revulsion. But the biggest risk with swearing is that words used for emphasis can actually diminish your overall credibility.

I recently received a comment from a reader of this blog who started off his diatribe with “You guys need to get your fucking facts straight before you put shit like this on the internet…”  Continue reading

Day of Silence Reminds Us of Need to Speak Up

By Jason Menard

As powerful as today’s National Day of Silence has the potential to be, to affect real change we need to use the other 364 day to speak up against name-calling, bullying, and harassment not just in schools, but everywhere.

The National Day of Silence is an event led by the U.S.-based Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. It’s intent is to get students to take a vow of silence to bring attention to anti-lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgendered name-calling, bullying, and harassment. Continue reading

Some Businesses Need a Kick in the Assets

By Jason Menard

To paraphrase John Hurt in the film The Elephant Man, “I am not a stakeholder, I am not an asset or a resource. I’m a human being. I… am… a… man.”

I’m Jay. Nice to meet you. However, if you go by the way businesses speak about its employees, one would think that people are no more important than the computer they’re working on, or the phone with which they’re calling you. Continue reading

Blunting Our Greatest Tool

By Jason Menard

Language is a wonderful thing. The very thought that you can string together completely random symbols and not only have them form a very real image in your mind, but all share that image with someone else is absolutely awe-inspiring.

After all, I can write c-a-t and you’ll probably have a fairly solid idea of the animal to which I’m referring. I can write those letters in seconds, yet convey a fully formed image. My other option would be to try to draw that animal. Maybe you’d get it right — chances are you’d be saying, “What’s that? A giraffe? A mongoose? A cowboy eating a hamburger on a pogo stick?” Continue reading