Thursday, January 19, 2012

killing me unsoftly

This is not an insensitive rant. It offers no disrespect to victims of violence. It's a semantic commentary, a diatribe on diction. A reflection on language. In the last few days on TV or radio news reports I've been hearing the phrases "brutally murdered" or "brutally beaten." Really? Would it be "kindly murdered"? Or "gently beaten"? I don't think so. I don't think the phrase "killing with kindness" is meant to summon those meanings. And I don't think those who utter such phrases do so with Shakespearean irony, as when Hamlet has some wordplay over the murder of his father (if I recall rightly): "a little more than kin, and less than kind."

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