In Through the Looking-Glass, Humpty Dumpty famously declares that words mean what he wants them to mean. I’ve known people to declare the same thing — that, for whatever reason, they can use their own meanings for words. (To be clear, Lewis Carroll was mocking the idea.)
While ideas matter more than the words used to express them, it’s a lot more challenging to communicate and discuss those ideas without a shared vocabulary. A common language that is rich and detailed makes the expression of ideas all the more precise and accurate.
This is why con artists prefer convoluted language: it’s a mask.
Of twelve. It’s hard not to notice how Christmas peeks out from under the covers earlier and earlier every year. One of my more recent seasonal traditions is noting how soon the first signs appear. The commercial opportunities of Halloween run interference in the fall; this year I found Christmas spoor on November 1st.
How Thanksgiving managed to escape heavy commercialization escapes me. Maybe people are spent out due to those two spendiest of holidays bracketing either side. Attics now store as many boxes of Halloween decorations as they do Christmas ones!
I guess the long foreplay is a good thing considering the instant exit once the deed is done.
I was exposed to Shakespeare in high school. We read several of his plays in various English classes. I took to it about the same as most high school kids. That is, I found it opaque and dull (like “classical” music). The first glimmer of the magic and wonder of Shakespeare came only when I became involved in staging some of his plays in drama class.
When I was a sophomore, I helped stage—and acted in—our high school drama group’s presentation of Hamlet (one of his greatest works). I’ve written about my high school drama teacher; he was a professional theatre person who’d gone into teaching (while waiting for his big break in Hollywood). Our production of Hamlet received rave reviews from local papers. “Better than most college productions,” they said!
As a direct consequence of that production, Hamlet is my favorite play!