Subtexts (for the Implication-Impaired)

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.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
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25 Responses to Subtexts (for the Implication-Impaired)

  1. Trev Jones says:

    I like this idea, Mitch.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I pretty much go through my day intoning, Read the subtext, read the subtext.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I am so going to write an email to everybody I know at both companies to get this going…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. A subtext app is a brilliant idea. You need to get a copyright on that before somebody steals it!

    Too young to buy sheep, though. I’m confused…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. LOL! After some 30 years, hubby and I actually talk to one another in nothing but subtexts for the implication impaired. 🙂

    I realize no one wants the boring facts, but diseases have always been named after the geographic area they were discovered in. WHO wrote a paper about this very thing just a few years ago. It is actually intended to ease fears. So the Spanish flu of 1918 likely sprung up in Kansas, but due to the wars and gov censorship, it was actually discovered in Spain, hence Spain has the proud distinction of having named the, “Spanish flu.” Why in the world anyone would WANT to claim ownership of an unpleasant virus is beyond me, but that really is tradition and scientists are quite proud of it. Of course now it is 2020 and we are super sensitive and easily provoked to offense.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. says:

    Closed captioning has opened a whole new world of entertainment for me. One night as I watched the news, the announcer was speaking about a woman who had been on the job for six months before resigning. The caption read, the woman had been on the John for six months. It’s no wonder she resigned.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Nancy Ruegg says:

    I nominate you, Mitch, for the committee that officially approves the subtexts. We may not understand one another any better, but we’ll laugh more–a very good and needful thing!

    Liked by 3 people

  8. revruss1220 says:

    Brilliant! But what are you REALLY saying?

    Liked by 4 people

  9. Kellie says:

    Oh this is so true, and “opportunistic misinterpretation” is such a good way to put it, it is probably more prevalent today with all the social media but it has always been there.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. pkadams says:

    I need a meme of me groaning and worrying about the implications of this trend.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. ruthsoaper says:

    I hope it works better than auto correct.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. boromax says:

    So… what are you saying, Mitch?

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Subtexts have subtexts like culture, context, body language, and one set of words might mean some completely different in a different culture, context, body language. I do not think we have computers that are capable of this level of discernment. Many humans lack this ability.

    As a language teacher I specifically taught students to pay attention to these markers so that they had a fuller understanding of what they are experiencing. In one lesson, students watch a film clip without words and discuss what happened. Then we watch it a second time in silence to see if others’ perception helped us understand something new. Then we watch with sound and see how what we thought was happening was true or not. We can then point out what made us think in a certain way. By actively teaching students to look for subtext in all kinds of interactions, students broaden their understanding of their world.

    Liked by 2 people

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