Automatons. That is the word I was told to edit out of a previous article. Why? Apparently, not everyone knows what it means.
I thought this was nonsense. I was sure that most people would know that the word “automaton” essentially means a robot. The same goes for the concept of a litmus test, which is essentially a test that proves or disproves something.
I was still told, however, by my editors at The Bulletin that my vocabulary may be beyond that of our normal readers. This forced me to rethink a lot of things, from whether the words I use truly are esoteric, or whether we as a people have fallen out of love with that great book that should grace our shelves – the dictionary.
Please do not read this as an attack on the good people of Emporia, nor on the students. Rather, this is an attack against the notion that we, as a people, have become apathetic, or perfunctory if you will, when it comes to increasing our vocabulary. We believe it better to drift from conversation to conversation, class to class, paper to paper, using words that consist of, at most, three syllables to represent our thoughts and feelings.
Does this help anyone? No. It creates an atmosphere that would better suit a sloth. It presents the idea that we only open dictionaries when we scribble down bits of faux or unimagined poetry, or even have the dictionary application open as we write papers on our computer are wasting our time.
I enjoy writing words that may need to be sounded out as they contain five or six syllables. Why? Because it better defines my point, and being an opinion writer, the more defined my point or position on a subject, the easier it becomes for people to see my rationale and to agree with it or to challenge it.
Would you rather me say, “I dislike this,” or “I abhor the decision to the very fabric of its core?” We should all be using the vocabulary of the latter, with ample usage of our dictionaries or thesauri, to state our extremely specific and complicated emotions and feelings. This is especially important as we begin to discover more challenging concepts in our higher-level classes.
I know that most people will tell me that the message always trumps the idea of what vocabulary is being used, “simplicity is key.” To this I agree, and for that reason I try and limit my speech, but still some people tell me that I continue to use words that not everyone can understand.
What do I have to say to that? Automatons. I can’t help it.