The Importance of Being Important.

It is a curiosity to me if writers understand the importance they have been in the past and should be in the future, given that written language was not present some three or four thousand years ago. Even fiction must have an element of truth to be believable; so, do most works today contribute in some way to the history of our present time, or, is writing nothing more than a money-making scheme?

 Anthropologists tell us language likely began as guttural sounds, writing as illustrations chiseled into stone. As sounds developed into words, each word became a symbol, thus, writing. Of course, it evolved slowly and not as simplistically as given here. French, for example, had no real form until about the 10th century, and developed from Latin, Celtic, and a mixture of Germanic words. Words must first have been used to identify parts of the body or things used on a daily basis.

 All of this language development certainly leaves plenty of room for error. Further, reading and writing language was initially limited to the clergy, certain societal classes, or the privileged few. Accuracy and truth in translation and interpretation, therefore, become very important questions. Nuances in language provide us with even more probability of incorrect definition upon becoming written words.

 In my view, the importance of today’s writers and authors is an increasingly important part of the advancement of civilization, like it or not. Our search for truth and accuracy often depends upon the personal viewpoint of the writer, opinion and commentary creeping into articles intended to be factual descriptions of a happening or something said.

 An illustration (picking on the old society page reports of a women’s club): “Delicious refreshments were served.”

 Really? Who says the refreshment were delicious? Perhaps several guests came down with food poisoning. The word “delicious” is opinion, an editorial commentary that only appears to be true. It is, in reality, only the view of the writer, and, is innuendo. Innuendo, by the way, seems to have now become a staple of American journalism as an effort to champion a point of view of the writer or employer. This, I believe, is particularly true of the television “news” scriptwriter.

 When the Founders wrote the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the intention was to assure a truthful and accurate reporting of issues by a free press. Unfortunately, they presumed reporters would always write truthfully, accurately, and without innuendo. (Read the book or watch the 1981 motion picture “Absence of Malice”) In short, the Founders believed, writers would exercise a modicum of scruples. Even Benjamin Franklin, though, wrote many pieces designed to sway public opinion. (Read the “Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”.)

 In my view, then, today’s independent writers and authors, regardless fiction or non-fiction, shoulder a critically important task to be both truthful and honest in what they write without caveat. Otherwise, irreparable harm to history will result.

 …but, it is just this writer’s opinion.