Thursday, October 09, 2008
The word "nice"
Category: Writing and Poetry
When I hear the word "nice", I want to write. Nice, as per agreement to those discussing it in the staffroom today, is far too general a word. It is barely a descriptive thing as it only compares to what is NOT nice. And so, what is that? It drives me crazy that it is so general when there are thousands (well, okay, maybe just a mere 'several') of other words and ways to term an object, describe the emotion, paint the picture.
Points should not be given for a descriptive paragraph that reads "she had a nice bike." Well so what? Nice in the quickest sense that it wasn't a piece of crap. Well good. NICE-ly done. But WHAT? about it? What MAKES it nice? Is it nice because it has handle bars at all when others do not? Would "nice" be the lines or the color of the bike? The type? The brand? Could "nice" be that it was from the store as opposed to the junkyard? Could a bike from the junkyard BE nice in the sense that it was built from scraps and therefore implies PRIDE which can be considered "nice"?
Furthermore, how do we get kids to care? To GIVE a crap about writing? To submit and produce works of art, of ethic, and of pride? In today's generation, it's a do-what-I-can-to-just-squeeze-by lazy fair, even though the earliest generations of our time and further back produced great works of prose, poetry, narrative, and novel--treasures for us, the younger generation to compare ourselves to, to aspire to, to find inspiration, truth, opinion, imagination, and most of all freedom.
To defend these slackers somewhat, the number of humans in the world has not doubled, tripled, or even quadrupled in one hundred years, when Teddy Roosevelt was in office, but has risen nearly 670%! That is a staggering boom of human minds to be born and thusly compete for the light of recognition in a contemporary society where 'letting the other guy have it' has become more popular, if not banal, concession to working really hard to achieve something actually worth merit, praise, and to this end, good marks in school.
It makes sense in a very consumeristic culture, where the volume of humanity is crowding itself out, that we are losing steam, finding the lazy way out, and being content to simply let someone else take care of it, write it, paint it, create it, develop it. There ARE many others out there willing to do it for you, for someone else, for those unable, but especially unwilling to do it and enabling this atmosphere of blaze-ness. It is undoubtedly creating a sterile apathy in the younger generations, where the numbers of kids in classrooms are ever-oozing into barely-manageable crowds, and undoubtedly establishing a dichotomous society.
But, if this is any indication where we could be headed, it is also another just-is era of many eras to have dominated the cultures and societies of our time and the times which existed along time ago.