Monday, May 26, 2014

A powerful short essay by Adam Gopnik

Adam Gopnik is my favorite non-fiction writer alive. There, I wrote it. I've said it several times on Twitter, but never here. Gopnik's writing isn't just beautiful. His words are full of substance. Here's an excerpt from his latest short essay, published while the memory of the latest gun massacre is still fresh. It'll vanish soon. It always does:
“The war against euphemism and cliché matters not because we can guarantee that eliminating them will help us speak nothing but the truth but, rather, because eliminating them from our language is an act of courage that helps us get just a little closer to the truth. Clear speech takes courage. Every time we tell the truth about a subject that attracts a lot of lies, we advance the sanity of the nation. Plain speech matters because when we speak clearly we are more likely to speak truth than when we retreat into slogan and euphemism; avoiding euphemism takes courage because it almost always points plainly to responsibility. To say “torture” instead of “enhanced interrogation” is hard, because it means that someone we placed in power was a torturer. That’s a hard truth and a brutal responsibility to accept. But it’s so.”
Gopnik is the author of one of the few books I've read more than three times, Angels and Ages.

UPDATE: For those of you interested on data and research related to gun violence, take a look at ProPublica's coverage.