Friday, October 30, 2009

War of the Words

You are sitting beside your radio in the comfort of your own home.

Relaxing after a long day on the job, you kick back with a drink in the easy chair of your choice before turning the dial to your favorite station.

It is Friday, October 30th.

You have no idea your world is about to come apart at the seams.

As the news trickles in, you sit spellbound.

You hear the strained, crackling voice of a reporter describing strange explosions and a cylindrical meteorite landing nearby.

Then, another bulletin, telling you about tentacled Martians incinerating an onlooking crowd with "Heat-Rays."

Regular programming breaks down.

You are now glued more than ever to the voices from the radio in your living room.

The station is struggling to keep up with casualty updates, firefighting developments, martial law has been declared and troops are now attacking the Martians. You can actually hear the roar of cannon and at times think you can smell the gunpowder as power plants are destroyed, bridges collapse and railroad tracks blown to bits.These updates are followed by evacuation instructions as millions of refugees clog the roads while others are running and diving into the East River "like rats", to escape the invaders.

The station goes off the air.

For what seems like hours.

Minutes later, a despairing ham radio operator is heard calling, "Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there anyone on the air? Isn't there.... anyone?"

Could the entire planet be in peril?

When Orson Welles took to the air with an adaptation of "War of the Worlds", on this day in 1938, he was well aware of how the vehicles of words transport energy from ourselves to another person or group of people. And not much has changed in the seven decades that has elapsed since this fascinating study on the impact of words on human behaviour.

You be speaking to your boss, best friend or an audience of 500 people.

You may be be writing a love letter, a work-related memo or advertising copy.

Whatever the case, each word we speak or write has a life of its own, vibratory signatures that create waves in much the same way as a note of music.

Some know this instinctively; others arrive at this understanding in a slower, more gradual fashion.

Many, however, speak without thinking or write without clarity, missing out on the opportunity to effectively convey feelings and thoughts with an appropriate selection of words.

Sartre compared words to "loaded pistols", more treacherous and powerful than we think. Kipling was fond of saying "words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." How we utilize words will determine whether we live in a dark and threatening world, a colorless and dreary mind-numbing existence or a bright, radiant planet, bursting with possibilities.

Your words create your world.

For your family and friends.

For your business and brand.

Only you know if your words are winning or losing your war.

"A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet"

p.s. ... Tomorrow is the deadline for "YPG" entries, the word-of-mouse, social media phenomenon that has inspired passionate words from some of Canada's most infected young entrepreneurs. Symptoms are still being analyzed and samples are being submitted right up until midnight, October 31st.

p.s.s. ... Eschewing the use of words, "The Story" is making its magic felt in another way. Jazz aficionados are flocking to catch this unique combo with recent sellout shows in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal. Tonight, "The Story" adds another chapter to its repertoire with an appearance in TSB's hometown with an 8:00 show at Studio 700.

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