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War (Huh!) Yeah! (Huh!) What Is It Good For?

April 23, 2015

Among the bowels of the tortured words in the English language, I think the word ‘war’ has to be ranked right up there. It’s such a useless term now that we don’t even have wars anymore. We have ‘conflicts’ which, to me, is just an apalling thing. Not because you’re lying about what it is—that is horrible on its own—but because it just negates the violence inherent with any sort of war. To me, a conflict is two guys at a bar at 1:30am going, ‘Wha’ f-uck yew say ta me, bisch?’ And then having a fight. Or we call it by its operation name: Operation Iraqi Freedom! Operation Desert Fox! Which, to me, just sounds like that pretentious guy at a gathering that claims he was ‘in the core’ spouting off jargon to make himself seem knowledgable. 

But we do use ‘war’ still. It’s a popular term among politicians and doctors and doctors who’ve turned into politicians, but we use it for menial things: the war on poverty! The war on obesity! The war on drugs! The war on hair loss! Etc. I’m by no means saying that these aren’t serious issues—they are. But calling them a war just seems like a misuse of the word. The only one that comes closest to being a ‘war’ is the war on drugs and that’s only because the idiotic DEA loves its guns and money. And taking people’s guns and money and anything else you own if you happen to get caught using drugs. 

Yes, I know, the dictionary describes war as any sort of comment between any opposing sides, but that’s bullshit. And it only came into being fairly recently. So yeah, stop misuing the term ‘war’ to mean any stupid interpersonal conflict or cause, how about instead of calling a domestic issue a war and a non-domestic issue a conflict, we reverse it? It would at least bring things back into reality a little bit more. Which sounds more accurate? A war on women or a conflict with women? Sounds more realistic to me,  ‘But that negates the seriousness of it, bah bah bah!’ No, it doesn’t. It just realigns things to a more grounded and less sensationalistic level. 

Bill Bicks used to have a routine: ‘George Bush said, ‘We are losing the war on drug,’ and you know what that implies? That there’s a war going on and the people on drugs are winning it. Ahahaha!’ That, to me, is exactly the sort of image that goes through my head whenever I hear the phrase, ‘War on _______.’ It’s just a joke. Hell, this is low hanging fruit for me, but it’s still very pertinent.  The sad thing is that we all have abused words in the past or present whether we say we ‘hate’ something when it’s just really that we dislike something. 

It’s sad that now we’re so desensitized to things that unless we’re gripped violently by particular words and expressions then we won’t pay attention to it. So please: think of the tortured words?

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