Freddie DeBoer on the limits of language:
When we are presented with a grief so enormous and incomprehensible, we who have made language our business feel a desperate desire to use that language to make some sense of what we've confronting. We want to be heard, and we express ourselves out of the conviction that we must. That's natural. But the temptation, which we have to work to avoid, is to believe that there is some utility in merely piling up adjectives to express our frustration. The temptation is to believe that if one person is saying "awful," the second says something more in using "terrible". The sad truth is that using "unconscionable" does little more than using "bad". The important question is what we advocate, and with an event like Mumbai, what language could match the event? The desire to express more is admirable. The notion that scolding others for not using stronger language is somehow doing something is lamentable. Poetry makes nothing happen.