Originally published June 12, 2010 Reviewed today after minor editing.
America’s game. According to Wheel of Fortune’s, Vanna White, spinning to win money and prizes is America’s game.
I think there is another more insidious national game, a word game played out during an NPR discussion of a variety of current economic and political situations. One of the participants used the word hand-wringers to describe sincere thinkers attempting to sort through negative consequences of behavioral trends.
Hand-wringers is an example of an insidious word game–discrediting through sarcasm, disrespect or ridicule. Find a word that will conger the most negative visual and little more is necessary to dismiss discussion. A very simple spin-to-win. Remember the sounds of femi-nazi?
The child abuse by clergy and the cover-up of that abuse are getting the spin cycle. Pages of the spin game have attempted to mask the depth of institutionalized acceptance of committed crimes and failed justice. Another version of the spin to win.
My Friend, Two Names, consistently prods any complacency. He knows what buttons cure my lapse into silence. Yesterday he gave me the words of the West Point Honor Code and the seeds of this blog.
“I will not lie, cheat, steal or tolerate anyone who does.”
No room for spin. No caveats. No exceptions. But how far we have played the spin to win game. Two Names gave a telling illustration, an example that most of us would claim as acceptable.
A document stating that a job was complete gets handed off for signature. In truth, the job will take several more hours but the spin gets voiced. “You could be difficult to find in those ensuing hours so sign now.”
Minor? A judgement call? Of little consequence? That depends, doesn’t it. Two Names honors the Cadet Code, no spin to sign.
Read the newspapers. Listen to daily reports. Pay attention to our spin to win on every level. Word games developed to finesse the lie. Word games that cheat from children’s sports to international business. Word games designed to hide huge coffers of stolen treasure, starting with integrity and ending with bags of gold. And what is the simple salve to make it all feel better?
“Everyone does it. Why shouldn’t I.”