Subtitles or closed-captions (for the hearing-impaired): Most movies and TV shows have them. But what about subtexts, the underlying real meanings or implications behind people’s words?
As a writer, blogger, social-networker, or even as as conversationalist, have you ever wished your words could have subtexts underneath, “for the implication-impaired”? Our world these days seems increasingly bent on taking everything literally, or worse, at implying a subtext that wasn’t intended.
A professor at local university made reference to “the Chinese virus.” He was immediately suspended for making a “racist statement.” Was there subtext in his wording? Undoubtedly. He was implying, it would seem, that the Chinese government failed to properly inform and protect the rest of the world against the spread of coronavirus. Was it a racial statement? I doubt it. But it was a stupid one. Because it was almost guaranteed to be misinterpreted. Yes, some xenophobes with the IQs of, well, a coronavirus might use it as an excuse to attack Asian people.
But more likely, opportunists will intentionally misinterpret it. Because that’s a whole other pandemic in the world these days: opportunistic misinterpretation. And when it comes to politics, fugetaboutit! Because anything you don’t say (or mean) can and will be used against you!
So…I humbly propose that Apple or Samsung develop a brain-to-mouth (and fingers) app in order to add subtext to everything we communicate from now on. All media, news, tweets, texts, Facebook posts, dinner conversation, off-handed comments, and pillow talk will be accompanied by officially approved…
Subtexts for the implication-impaired.