You have the right to remain silent

We certainly are a chatty culture, aren’t we?

At the beginning of the month, in the throes of election hysteria, people seemed like they couldn’t stop talking, tweeting, blogging, emailing and updating. The words flowed like a tidal wave, tumbling at you through a dozen digital devices at once. Cascading like an acrimonious avalanche.

Don’t get me wrong. I love words. Then again, I also love coffee, bacon and cheesecake. You can love something while acknowledging that there’s such a thing as too much. There’s also good coffee and crap coffee, just like there’s good words and bad words. I’m not talking about obscenity or profanity. I’m talking about words that are mentally or spiritually non-nutritive. Value-free blather.

Sometimes, I have nothing nice to say, and so I exercise the right to follow Mom’s advice and say nothing at all. I decide not to tweet or Facebook that mean-spirited remark. I vent into a private journal instead of a public blog post.

In the common parlance, I S.T.F.U. Which is perfectly okay. In my day job, there’s a certain expectation of producing a constant stream of words. There’s a dark side to this insistence on feeding the content machine. When the volume and frequency of almost anything gets cranked to 11, the quality and value inevitably drop.

You may or may not have noticed that I didn’t post anything here for a week or two. There are several reasons for that. The biggest one is that I was incredibly busy. A smaller one is that there are things taking up an extraordinary amount of my headspace right now that I can’t talk about publicly.

But also, I didn’t have anything I felt like saying here. I will always reserve the right to mull things over privately for a while. I have the right to remain silent. Silence and quiet can be a deeply enriching thing.

It would be nice if a few more people exercised that right judiciously from time to time.


  1. ·

    Indeed! I saw a funny e-card on Pinterest the other day that said that some people should use a glue stick instead of chapstick. Sort of sums up what your post is stating, Kat. 🙂


  2. ·

    That almost sounds like a modern day Three Stooges bit, Alison. Tee hee hee…


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