Meanings of Words

The ability to take pleasure in one's life is a skill and is a kind of intelligence.  So intelligence is a hard thing to evaluate and it manifests itself in so many different ways.  I do think the ability to know how to live a life and not be miseraable is a sign of that.

America and the “Fun” Generation

Giridharadas project in her essay is to emphasize how words and the meaning of words change with society.  The two words that she focuses on the most in the essay are “fun” and “pleasure”.  He believes that these words meanings have changed because society has become more interested in doing more activities rather than sitting back and enjoying doing nothing.  Compared to the past, America has now become known for always having to be entertained, whether it is from video games, putting on shows or doing recreational games, Americans feel that they must be doing something in order to stay entertained. When I use the words pleasure and fun, I use them to express that something was pleasing to me.  The difference in pleasure and fun for me is similar to Giriharadas’s view which is that pleasure has a deeper and more intimate meaning where as fun could be anything such as a basketball game to listening to music with friends.  A pleasurable experience for me would be to get a relaxing massage at the spa with my friends because it is a relaxing feeling and we are doing nothing except enjoying the peacefulness.  Something fun would be a scavenger hunt with my basketball team because we are all being entertained by a simple game and we are enjoying the mindless company of each other.   Girihadas uses newspaper articles and the movie, Eat Pray Love in order to emphasize the different meanings between “fun” and “pleasurable”.  He tries to prove that fun derives from some kind of mindless activity that does not involve much thought compared to pleasure which is often times felt and involves deeper thinking.  In his essay, Girihadas points out that while observing articles in news papers, “fun” and “achievement” beat “pleasure” and “excellence”. Giridgaradas uses a database of newspapers in order to search for the use of words from 1810 to the 2000s, this help him back up his argument that words change with the society because he saw a correlation between words that when one increased, its alike word decreased.

Comic of an employees failing to communicate face to face.
Joan was failing in her attempts to curb Ken’s enthusiasm for e-mail Source:

 Lost in Translation

 In Wellner’s essay she emphasizes how technology today such as emails and text messaging ruins how people interact with each other because the true meaning behind the message may be lost due to interpretation.  Wellner uses research and facts from CEOs of companies and from people who study interactions with emails and text messaging.  This helps add to her argument because it shows there are research and facts behind this idea. I think that it is better to meet someone face to face because like Wellner finds, it is easier to interact and interpret meaning behind conversation based upon body language and tone of voice.  It somewhat depends on what you have to say, for example Wellner says that texts should just be used to clarify quick facts, I think that texts could be helpful for clarifying when to meet with someone.  However they would not be helpful when arguing with someone.  The deciding factor for me would be whether or not feelings could be hurt and if the texts involve opinions.  The advantage of emailing is hiding behind words, because it gives you a sense of security to say whatever you want to say indirectly while avoiding confrontation.  Emailing could also lead to a wrong interpretation which could offend someone.   Face to face allows people to correctly read each other how ever it may be more awkward than a text. When Wellner quotes Sara Roberts as saying “People hide behind email.” she means that it is very easy to send a message to someone because they are able to type something easier than saying it to that person directly.  This is a habit that serves as a safety net for many people who are afraid to speak their mind verbally.    I agree with the statistic that 7% of the meaning comes from the words in a message, but also disagree because sometimes people can use words that have a more negative connotation in order to present their mood.  Wellner uses an example from an actual company about how text messages often create and cause needless conflict because often times people are able to pick fights and handle them out of proportions because they are not as careful with what they type rather than what they would actually say out loud.



You've got a friend in me quote.
Toy Story Source:

What Does “Friend” Mean Now?

In Kahn’s essay he portrays how the word “friend” is now used in a looser manner due to social networking and how children are raised.  His examples in his essay come from people with a variety of ages.  This helps him define how people have different opinions on what the word “friend” truly means.  When I refer to someone as my friend, I consider them to be close to me and that I am comfortable with them.  I do use the word friend differently in varying situations because based upon the person I am referring to as a friend, if I am familiar with that person, I could just call them an acquaintance or a close friend. Kahn’s thesis is found in the third paragraph when he states that term “friend” constantly changes.  Turkle from MIT believes that social media altered the DNA of the word because it is taking lightly on social media due to the fact that anyone can friend someone on social media with out even having to directly interact with one another.  150 stable relationships is the number that Dunbar believes that a person can keep in their life time.  This is ironic to Kahn because on social media a person can have as many friends as they want, which changes the meaning of “friend” and makes it less intimate of a word.


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