language, other topics, politics

Paris, 11/13


I was having lunch Monday (with Andy Cohn) at a French restaurant, Liaison, in solidarity: Liberté, égalité, gastronomie! Afterwards I find myself wondering what to make of the horrible events of last Friday in Paris, and how to even frame the questions we have to ask and eventually answer.


I begin with a topic I have written about before but may require some additional consideration: how to talk about acts of terrorism. My answer: as little as possible.


When horrific events of this kind – whether terrorism or mass murder – occur, American media respond in unison: talk about nothing else for a week, and then…drop it, and get back to the reality shows. Both parts are dangerous. It may be tempting to be part of the audience after such tragedies – perhaps hearing the litany over and over is in some way cathartic – but we need to understand that being coddled in this way does us no good. Continue reading