Sunday, February 24, 2013

Taking on fabricated words

When trying to spread a message quickly and effectively, it helps to have buzz words for maximum impact. It helps even more if you can coin and define your own words. This allows you the control on how the word is utilized; especially if the word represents something “new” in the public arena. This strategy challenges those opposed to your view. It puts them at a serious disadvantage. They first have to interpret a word that has no real known or defined meaning and then find a counter argument. Now, if the word is ill-defined and has a kaleidoscope of characteristics they (the opponents or proponents) end up with a sort of Don Quixote’s tilting at windmills moment. 

Case and point the word “fracking.” The original word frac’ing, was used within the industry to describe a specific technology; “hydraulic fracturing.” In this highly technical process, millions of gallons of water along with a measured amount of chemicals are injected into a well. The well which is drilled vertically then laterally into a shale formation utilizes the water to "hydraulically" fracture the formation leading to the flow of the naturally occurring hydrocarbons that were trapped in the shale. However, “fracking” as it is used commonly takes on varying meanings that are dependent on what the user is trying to illustrate, mostly representing a negative connotation.
The generalizations hidden in this word are vast; its use leads to fuzzy lines between rhetoric and fact. When representatives of the media or self-proclaimed bona fide movement leaders fall into the trap of using this word loosely to increase their appeal, they show a complete lack of intellectual honesty.