I listened with interest to a piece on NPR today, from which I derived three things:
First, there was the main topic — the efforts by the current head of the Anti-Defamation League to recreate the heady days of the 60s and reach out to help social-justice causes beyond those that directly affect Jews. It seems he’s having trouble with that because so many activists on the left, such as those with Black Lives Matter, have a problem the ADL’s support of Israel.
Second, I learned a word for a phenomenon I’ve been puzzled by for years. The word is “intersectionality,” and it’s that thing whereby advocates for this or that cause — say, folks in the the transgender demographic — make like the issues they face are just the same as those faced by another group, such as African-Americans. I say I’ve been puzzled, but I suppose the purpose is obvious enough, there being strength in numbers, not to mention the greater acceptance that might rub off from another group.
Thirdly and finally, I heard the most jargon-y sentence I’m likely to hear today, complete with the obligatory use of “impact” as a verb, which is what made me perk up and listen to the rest of it with growing mystification tinged with awe:
“I’m invested in bringing the voice of people most impacted into a space where [other] people may not be hearing that truth and really challenging them on their privilege and access…”
“invested in…” “the voice of people…” “impacted…” “into a space…” “may not be hearing that truth…” “challenging them on their privilege…”
And I’m guessing that “access” in this context is also some sort of political cliché that I’m just not hip to.
I don’t know about you, but I was impressed. It’s like somebody bet this guy he couldn’t go a day expressing himself in nothing but clichés, buzzwords, slogans and catchphrases, and he was well on his way to winning the wager.
I’m reminded, as I so often am at such moments, of a Doonesbury strip from about 1973. Phred, the Viet Cong befriended by B.D., has gone into retirement, but is called back up for further service. He’s picked up to be taken back to war by a man driving an oxcart. Phred asks the man what’s new. The man replies with a flood of Leninist clichés about how the vanguard of the proletariat is resisting the imperialist running dogs, yadda-yadda.
Thought balloon from Phred in the back of the cart: “I forgot we talked like that!”
I think I’ve got that strip in a book at home. I’ll try to dig it up.