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Definitions & Perceptions

The administration’s efforts to change the term “global warming” to “climate change” does not slow the melting of the earth’s polar ice caps. We are far too used to this tactic from the current administration by now. The communication elements of writing, speaking and listening have lost some integrity. But bloggers are trying to change that a bit.
At Daily Kos members will be “tagging” soon, categorizing posts by content.
The “tags” I would choose for this post include: “communication, speech, listening, nomenclature, perception, public relations, public diplomacy, spin, mixed messages.”
What you call something or someone makes a difference in what your listener thinks about what he/she hears. In other words it is the communicator’s responsibility to be understood.
And what you do says more about you than what you say. Remember the cliche, “actions speak louder than words.” For example, in encouraging Americans to curtail unnecessary travel and making an eight trip to New Orleans OCP (our current president) certainly sends a mixed message, according to Think Progress. I agree and so do many other Americans. And the very valuable conservation message gets lost. The United States Department of State’s recent efforts with public diplomacy were not at all successful, in the opinion of many people. Karen Hughes’ behavior lacked nuance. She believes herself to be a good communicator; the beggest part of that skill is listening. I really wonder what information she will transmit to the administration about what she heard.
Yosri Fouda, of al Jazeera, is an absolutely “fascinating” communicator, according to Steve Clemons, at The Washington Note. I watched his presentation twice, learning more about extreemist jihadis each time. This investigative journalist from al Jazeera emphasized that those fighting the so-called “war on terror” should really listen to what Bin Laden, al Zawahiri, and al Zarqarwi tell us in their tapes and letters. “They tell us what they are going to do,” Fouda believes.
The current speculation is about what Bin Laden is going to do as a result of the massive earthquake in Pakistan. He, like everyone on earth, is subject to the effects of natural disasters. There are a lot of things that are bigger than any of us.
This past year’s weather events displaced millions of people from their homes. Drought in Africa, a tsunami, multiple hurricanes, fires and floods turn men women and children into refugees. The BBC has an interesting story about “environmental refugees.” The term “refugee” was disputed during the hurricanes. We now use the term “evacuee” instead. But, whatever the term, millions are now homeless.
But you wouldn’t know that if you were space tourist, Greg Olsen, coming back from the International Space Station. His perception of our beautiful earth from hundreds of miles was obscured by distance. He is now back to earth and life is really rough for millions of his fellow travelers. I envy his ability to have escaped for a few days, and I haven’t even been displaced. I have lost the pattern. Thus, I close with this wonderful quote:

Ursula LeGuin on Perceptions: “If you see a whole thing – it seems that it’s always beautiful. Planets, lives…. But close up a world’s all dirt and rocks. And day to day, life’s a hard job, you get tired, you lose the pattern.”


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