An Anecdote

Once upon a time, journalists from all over the world were asked to write a story about the elephant. The Frenchman wrote L’éléphant et l’amour. The American wrote Thirty-seven Miracle Diets and the Modern Working Elephant. And the German wrote The Socio-Dynamic Nature and Fundamental Psychological Constitution of the Elephant: Volume I, The Burmese Ceremonial Elephant, Chapter 1, “From Karl the Great to the Present.”

from Understanding Cultural Differences by Edward Twitchell Hall and Mildreed Reed Hall

What’s in a name?

Why we need to get better at naming things.

In my previous roundup, I linked to an Op-Ed about “The Charitable-Industrial Complex” by Warren Buffet’s son, Peter. It’s a pretty good piece, especially given who wrote it. The title is an allusion to the term “Military-Industrial Complex,” which was coined by President Dwight Eisenhower to refer to the relationships between the political establishment and the industries which profit from warfare. Homages in nomenclature like this one are a runaway trend in our discourse, and in my mind they’re a real danger: they facilitate a shallow approach to problems by glossing over differences and creating lazy mental shortcuts that might be easier, but lack subtlety and truth.

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