Weekend Thoughts - 11.28.15

Image  by  Benjamin Balázs , courtesy of  Creative Commons  licensing.

Image by Benjamin Balázs, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.

Happy Saturday y'all! Below, I have rounded up some things for you to think about this weekend:

1. Last October, a Chicago police officer named Jason Van Dyke shot 17 year-old Laquan McDonald (who was walking the streets holding a knife and allegedly under the influence of PCP, although he did not violently engage the cop) 16 times and murdered him. The police department then proceeded to lie about it and deleted surveillance footage from a nearby business, and the murderer was kept on payroll for 400 days after the incident. The footage of the murder was released this week, and can be viewed at the aforelinked website. Naturally, Chicago has not taken too kindly to this show of unnecessary force (on a minor, no less) by one of its police officers. Yet another example of why we need to be documenting and following up on the large number of civilians murdered by police more thoroughly.

2. I consider this to be both staggering and telling: more than 1 out of 4 Americans believes the United States government to be the enemy, according to a recent poll. My personal belief is that we are all in this together, and we need to work "across the aisle", so to speak, with our perceived "enemies", rather than engaging in a war against them. We must all wake up together, or we won't be able to awaken at all.

3. George Orwell, author of many timeless classics such as 1984 and Animal Farm, held some strong opinions regarding improving one's ability to think and write. A post on High Existence explore's Orwell's ways that politicians use language to deceive us, which may forever affect the way you perceive politician's speeches. I greatly enjoyed the following list of Orwell's "Six Rules for Better Writing and Better Thinking":

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active voice.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

That's all for this week's edition of Weekend Thoughts. Until next week, keep thinking wilder.