What leaked through domestic walls and social media in recent days rubs salt in wounds inflicted by instances when the meaning and value of words is of little or no relevance, implication and consequence.

The number of toxic and acrimonious exchanges that poisoned parliamentary sittings, household and social media contexts during 2018 was remarkable.

This is not a political blog, at least not in the everyday sense of the word. Many have already expressed the partisan and public implications of public figures’ alleged verbal and non-verbal misconduct. Not all have been candid about their agendas.

My agenda is the following: This blog post is political only in terms of the power our words can have on one another. This a blog that is questioning the extent of which dignity, respect and responsibility are factored in what we tell one another, what we write and what we share.

It is reasonable to say the meaning of a word may vary with users and contexts. Meanings are nuanced and negotiated according to factors that include cultural, subcultural, psychological and situational factors.

One cannot discount intended and collateral damages implied when swear words, insults and fabrications become (mis)used as punctuation

Yet, one cannot discount intended and collateral damages implied when swear words, insults and fabrications become (mis)used as punctuation.

Do you (like yours truly) make the occasional and regrettable slip? Or are you are a firm believer that boundless self-expression is indispensable in the 21st century toolkit?

This blog post is also about the irony of a society where principles such as sustainable development and social justice may not always be successfully accomplished but, at least, their legitimacy is seldom questioned, if at all.
Yet, the same cannot be said about the exchanges we have with one another.

Today, some still have to argue and justify the legitimacy of why we ought to weigh words, why we should not use vulgar and offensive language, why personal and professional relationships should be engaged with due responsibility to the vulnerabilities they expose in counterparts and stakeholders.

Countless are the times when interlocutors made me face vulgar or inadequate expressions, despite many of these being some of the most knowledgeable and articulate people on the island.

Lowering expectations so as not to be ousted as ‘prude’ yields piecemeal relations and acquiesces the treatment of people as disposable.

We just ended 2018, the year when ‘single-use plastics’ was Collins Dictionary’s 'word' of the year and the implied environmental concern is laudable.

My 2019 started with questioning the extent of which - in a far from laudable way - single-use is permeating also the quality and extent of human interactions.

If, like me, you believe this question to be a pertinent one, then you might also be questioning its potential as an entry point to more sustainable and dignified personal and public relationships.


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