One Big Happy (5/13/09)

05-13-09 (One Big Happy)

This strip reminds me of one of my least favorite intellectual crutches: the notion that people should be able to define words as they see fit. This sentiment tends to rear its ugly head when someone has been corrected on the meaning of a particular word (like irony). Rather than using the correction as an opportunity to learn something, the most defensive among us claim that language is relative and that their definition of the word is just as valid as anybody else’s (or everybody else’s, for that matter). The problem with that line of thinking is that common agreement on meaning is one of the bedrocks of language. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to communicate. Sure, we could use “our own words,” but as the girl in this strip points out, no one would know what anyone else was saying.


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