It’s that time of year when dictionaries announce the “word of the year.” Different dictionaries choose different words based on the spikes they see in word searches throughout the year. This year’s words, from three different publishers, are: complicit, feminism and youthquake (that from British-based Oxford Dictionary).
Youthquake, defined as “a significant culture, political or social change arising from the actions or influence of young people” was first coined in 1965 by Vogue editor Diana Vreeland describing post-WWII turmoil and baby boomers’ rejection of traditional values.
My parents were the adventurous type, and since I am an only child, I was frequently included (dragged along) on those adventures. My parents are the original DIYers. At some point they decided to try canoeing. Learning to canoe meant dropping the canoe in the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon, getting in and setting off.
My clearest memory of that trip was being told not to lean too far to one side or the other, lest we capsize. Having an active imagination when it came to the consequences of ending up in the river, I sat perfectly still in the very center of the canoe. Tilting was unacceptable. To this day, tilting, whether in an airplane or 4-wheeling, stirs up those panicky feelings. These days I feel the same way about the way news is being covered.
We no longer present our views based on personal convictions and fact-finding. Now we argue based on whatever news trough we’ve eaten from.
So how do we go about finding information that is fair, balanced and truthful in this click-happy climate?
I came across www.allsides.com this week. It’s “about” statement reads, “Unlike regular news services, AllSides exposes bias and provides multiple angles on the same story so you can quickly get the full picture, not just one slant.” Ratings on every story indicate the story’s slant. It’s interesting to see the different perspectives.
For myself, I’m aiming for center. Extremism on either side is a detriment to our nation, not an advantage. Much like that canoeing experience, it seems like the more centered we can be, the less likely we are to tip the boat.
It’s hard to believe we’re wrapping up another year already, but this time next week we’ll be reminding ourselves to write 2018 on our checks. I’ll leave you with this New Year’s thought from Benjamin Franklin: “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.” (Or woman.)