Saturday, April 26, 2008


Who are “They”

They are the real problem. They do this. They won’t let us do that. They don’t want us to know the truth. They have another agenda.

In listening to social commentary, radio commentators, dinner parties, church lessons, and talk on the corner, I find that “they” are always up to something and seem to be the cause of most things. I have had my scientists and pollsters research the issue and they have found that “they” is the most used word by anyone in any conversation about news, society with all its ills, explanation of any event involving conflict, and especially in any explanation of conspiracy or events behind any proverbial curtain. This is my new second favorite statistic (second to the fact that 80% of people believe they are above average).

Who are “they”?

In our current climate of economic, racial, political, and cultural division there are lots of “they” being referred too. People are very comfortable talking about “they” and very less comfortable explaining who “they” are (is would be the appropriate word for this usage but I can’t bring myself to write it). “They” is a crutch used to describe the faceless other without having to name them.

If I say “they” in any conversation or diatribe, my listener has the liberty of filling in the blank of whom the “they” are to fit their liking. I exercise the right to assume the listener understands whom I am referring to while still allowing them to misunderstand of their own free will. “They” allows me the comfort of either deniability if my statements cause trouble, or the comfort of not having to name names and officially become a finger pointer on uncomfortable issues.

How would communication change if the word “they” were no longer available?
At risk of offending the Hemmingway sensibilities of some, and the joy of brevity, we should begin filling in the blank of the “they”.

Any time one is heard referring to they, inquire who “they” are. Any time one is engaged in conversation and about to use the word, stop and explain the “they”, maybe even using a name or some other defining description. Listen and see how accurate my pollsters are (should I mention my distrust of polls and their relevance).

It is time we are called on the carpet in our description of or references to others. Let us try the honesty of direct address in our own speech and call on it from others.

“They” will never change unless we demand action!


Lisa said...

I am surprised no one has repsonded yet... maybe none of us are deep enough thinkers! And to be honest with you? I read it when you first posted it - liked it a lot....and have procrastinated using my brain enough to think about it enough to respond. So - now I've forgotten what you said that I liked and am being a slacker student and didn't even read this before responding! How like a lazy uninformed voter! Which means I usually just duck my head and don't respond. But I saw no one else had, and it made me feel bad because your posts are really really enjoyable. I do read them all. So that is WHY I am responding. So that you know I do read them. You are loved!

lyric said...

so - when someone sends an e-mail, look it up.
Really good question and really good way to think critically. Can't wait to get into my first conversation where I get to ask a "they'er" which "they" they are referring to.