Partially Coherent Rambling


I told a friend the other day that I thought word connotations were the single most important aspect of writing. I’m sure if push came to shove, I could be convinced to back off that assertion. Grammar and sentence structure, for instance, have to be near the top if we’re creating a definitive list. But the words we use do have an effect. Underpants connotes something entirely different from underwear, which connotes something entirely different from unmentionables. Principally, though, we’re talking about the same thing.

When I created this blog I thought of it as an outlet of sorts. An avenue for my thoughts. A chance to improve my writing. A resume-builder. A chance to see if I could produce something worth reading.

Like anything else, though, this blog’s name precedes it. Two-Ring Circus. I came up with the name during the Democratic National Convention, because at the time, politics really did seem like a circus. Hell, there were even tents. The two rings, of course, were the two parties. But now that I’ve taken a step back from the circus, taken a step back from electoral politics, I’ve come to realize that it’s really more of a three-ring circus after all.

The media play a more active role in politics than they ever have. At the convention there were more media there than politicos. There came a point when I couldn’t shake the feeling that the hordes of security were there more to protect me and the other reporters than to protect the politicians. I could lecture on about how the weakening of the political parties, coupled with the power of television and radio have made this possible, but my gut tells me no one cares.

What people do care about is how the media affect them. And how the media affect the political process. Conservatives rant incessantly about the liberal media, not because they like to complain, or are inherently anti-authoritarian, but because they care about what messages they hear and read. Liberals whine about FOXNews because they want coverage to actually be fair and balanced, for the sake of a fairly informed electorate.

What the media — even the members thereof who are trying to be transparent — do a terrible job of is analyzing why and how bias might be manifesting. And a lot of it comes back to connotations. Words.

Global warming v. Climate change. Enhanced interrogation techniques v. Torture. Estate v. Death tax. Yes, it’s the politicians who use these words to shape public perception, but it’s the media that provides the conduit. And too often, the media acts complicitly, allowing politicians to frame the discussions as they please rather than sifting through the garbage to allow reasoned discussion to take place.

What’s the point of this rambling mess of a post? Frankly, I don’t remember. But know that my goal moving forward is to cut through some of the white noise that words can create. Those of Democrats, Republicans and your local newspaper.

Welcome to Two-Ring Circus.

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2 Responses to “Partially Coherent Rambling”


  1. 1 Brittany June 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    More fodder:

    Anti-choice vs Pro-Life
    Pro-Choice vs Abortionist (I guess “Anti-life” wouldn’t really play?)

    Illegal aliens vs illegal immigrants vs undocumented workers

    Homosexual vs gay vs queer

    War on Terror vs Overseas Contingency Operation

    I really enjoyed this post….wish it were longer.

  2. 2 Brian Eason June 11, 2009 at 1:29 am

    Thanks… Maybe I’ll revisit the idea in a future post and expound a little.


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About the Author

Brian Eason is a University of Missouri graduate with bachelor degrees in Journalism and Political Science. He has covered Congressional elections and local government for the Columbia Missourian and worked as a general assignment reporter for the State Journal-Register in Springfield, IL. Brian has also had articles published in Roll Call.

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