Over the past few months, I have lost track of how many times I have heard the phrase “it’s just common sense” from various pundits, politicians, radio and television commentators and company executives.
There were many expressions I loathed during my working days (and still do), such as “think outside the box,” “at the end of the day,” “win-win situation” and “it’s a no-brainer.”
The one about common sense is derived from a culture aimed at reducing weighty subjects to simple, substance-lacking thoughts.
I recall a manager telling experienced scientists to “think outside the box,” trying to impress upon them the need to develop new products in a given area, as if those scientists had not already considered novel products in light of the available technology.
The oversimplification of concepts intimated by all of these phrases is an attempt to make them self-evident. It removes thought-provoking discourse, preventing significant dialogue.
Many politicians will use the phrase “train wreck” to describe the Affordable Care Act, expecting recipients to interpret that as an absolute statement.
My concern is that we are losing sight of the need for engaged discussion about meaningful matters, which should not be rendered non-debatable by simplistic absolutisms. Think about that. It only makes “common sense.”
Four too many
Every year, we get four new telephone books. Do we need four telephone books? Most people (not me) have a computer, therefore, they don’t use the telephone book.
Now, I have heard a rumor of a plan for a telephone book just for cellphones. Please, give us a break. Stop with all the books.
Chilling echo of the past
In defense of Edward Snowden, the man who documented the stunning scope of the once-secret phone surveillance program in America.
I have not read or heard anywhere about the remarkable similarities between our 7-year-old NSA data sweep and Adolf Hitler’s “research office,” the Forschungsamt (FA), the least known but most significant agency in the Nazi power structure.
Hermann Goering, second only to Hitler himself, created the diabolical bureaucracy in April 1933. In the 12 years to follow, nearly half a million reports on intercepted telephone calls affecting the political history of the Third Reich were received, read and acted upon.
How close we are to losing what freedom we once had in this country.
Snow and ice
Regarding the Dec. 20 letter “Icy streets”: The writer needs to know two things before speaking about the streets. One is that there will never be enough plow trucks to be on all streets at the same time.
Also, if there were enough trucks, they still could not plow the streets before a snowstorm.
When he does figure out a way, he should please let the city know.