News and views of Barrio Hollywood, Tucson

The Cunning Linguist
Scott D. Egan

“You Tell ‘Em!”

That’s how I sarcastically responded recently to someone shouting their outrage at the comments coming from a purely inanimate object: my TV. Some latest rediculous contention was just proudly broadcast and someone in the room reacted back to the “news” with a stream of invective I won’t repeat here. You’re welcome.

“You tell ‘em!” I said encouragingly. The announcer on the machine did not respond back, but just kept on. And on. Most machines are that way. The shouter grumbled something else and then just sat there, head-shaking.

I will readily admit that I too have exhibited my own periodic (and idiotic) Rages Against The Machine. It does no good of course. No matter how irate one gets, and no matter how logical your argument may be or how obviously wrong and easily refuted the message is from the Machine, it is still just a machine regurgitating fed data that you are trying to converse with. That electronic object has gotten you to react to the images and messages it is broadcasting, and your refutations, no matter how fervently held, are now being hurled at a “thing.”

You might feel better after you have expunged all of your frustration onto it, but nothing changes. Scream louder and the Thing still doesn’t listen. It feeds you info that makes you irate but takes no feedback back from you. It doesn’t listen. You could throw a brick through the thing, but who is affected by that, other than yourself?

Sure there may be some reaction in the room. The people nearby who are hearing your irate protestations may respond like I did (“Yeah you tell ‘em!, Go on, let that damn machine know how you really feel!”). What’s broadcast to your ears just makes you just want to scream back at the madness, even if nobody hears you.

That is a little like what it feels to be writing this first edition (hopefully not the last) of the “Barrio Hollywood Rag.” I am typing this on an inanimate object after all. But hopefully we will get some reaction.

Will the writers and contributors to this publication expend their efforts with the same effect as the yelling at an object? Or will people read these words and react in ways that may make a difference? Time will tell. But we’re gonna give it a shot.

Unlike that machine that you scream or grumble at, we will listen, and — if we are lucky and smart — will reflect your concerns to whomever reads this. Maybe we can do some good.

So stay in touch. OK?

Scott D. Egan, Editor

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