Friday, March 14, 2008

Principle Of Communication

The idea I'm presenting here is not at all original to me. I'd love to attribute it properly, or at least word it as the original author did, but I don't know who it was or where I heard or read it.

This is a principle that I heard of some years back, and have tried to put into practice since. It has generally served me in good stead. I have also recommended it to many others, and their reaction tells me whether they hold a theologically orthodox position on the subjects of original sin and the depravity of mankind.

Whenever presenting material, verbally or in writing, assume that your audience is mean and stupid. Mean, in that if there is more than one way to interpret your words, they will choose the least charitable interpretation. Stupid, in that if you are not absolutely clear, they will simply fail to understand you.

If anyone knows where this idea originated, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know. I tried Googling it up, but had no luck. There's certainly no shortage of "mean and stupid" on the Internet, but I couldn't turn up anything matching the above. Of course, since I'm working strictly from a distant memory, I may not be recalling the same precise wording. Come to think of it, maybe I didn't understand what the original author meant.

And yes, I know that every time I make a joke based on a news item, that I'm providing a great example of that first audience category. The last article I posted, just a few minutes ago, is a great case in point.

Enough rambling. Here's a picture of my now-dead dog's hip right after surgery (I warned you, way back when, that this might be coming). The surgery presumably had little to do with her death, having taken place five years prior.

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