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Comodification, long words and the exclusivity of political dialogue

October 12, 2011

(Originally posted from Blogger on 19 August 2011 as Posterous didn’t want to play with my computer at the time. Here’s the original post, I’ve copied it to here so everything’s in the same place.) 

A lot of people talk about politics, and a lot of them are quite ill-informed. 

A lot of people write brilliantly informative political and feminist articles, which are very clever and entirely incomprehensible to the average person. 

I posted something up this morning on my facebook page, and someone replied with something in Latin. Now, that may well have been the best and briefest way to express what they wanted to express about my post, but it was entirely exclusionary. In order to reply, I had to search for a translation of what they meant, and even then I don’t really know if I got the right meaning. 

The feminist movement is particularly guilty of this. Take the word, ‘comodification’. I don’t know what it means. I’ve come across this word numerous times in various contexts. I’ve looked up it’s meaning more times than I can recall, but it just won’t stick. There are other words which are commonly used in feminist and leftist literature with which I have the same problem. 

So, an intelligent and well-educated person who is interested in the subject and comparatively well-read generally does not understand much of the literature due to the use of exclusive words? Guys! You have a problem! 

By definition, those who are interested in and writing about politics want to engage in political dialogue and bring others round to their point of view. So why is the language so hard to get a handle on? 

I discovered a new word the other day: cyberbalkanization. You should look it up. And then look at your own internal dictionary, and wonder if it might need a little trimming.

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