The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, November 08, 1995, Page 5, Image 5

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    Love needs a new definition
There are certain sayings we, as a
culture, use all the time, that when
broken down, just don’t make any
sense. One such saying is “love
That one makes me wonder how
advanced Homosapiens really are.
If love hurts, then why do we
keep doing it? Being hit by an out of
control biker hurts, stubbing your
toe hurts, walking into a door hurts
— and we don’t keep doing those
Any reasonable person (reason
able does not include those with
sadistic tendencies) goes out of the
way to avoid pain-—we look both
ways before crossing the bike path,
we lift up our feet, and we open
But we cannot seem to control
ourselves when it comes to love. We
allow this excruciating process to
happen to us time and time again.
Sometimes we even look for it,
but I guess that it helps when we
look in all the wrong places.
If love hurts then why don’t we
warn each other when we see it
If I saw a friend wandering
carelessly into the street right in
front of a car, I would give her a
warning, I would say, “Hey friend,
you’re wandering carelessly into the
street right in front of a car!”
Or if I saw a friend about to eat a
twinkie and destroy her diet, I would
boldly and selflessly offer to eat the
twinkie for her.
So when we see someone we care
about walking straight into love we
should shout out a warning — or at
the very least offer to take their
place. I mean, hey, what are friends
And if we sec a lovesick person,
then we should get them to the
doctor as soon as possible because I
have also heard that you hurt the
ones you love.
Now I understand why there is so
much suffering in the world,
because if love makes the w'orld go
rqi4m),tli>en .there,am many people,
Chaka Johnson
“A conversation about
true love should go
something like this.
‘Have you caused your
boyfriend any
spontaneous or undue
harm lately?’”
out there hurting each other week
after week and day after day. I mean
come on, it’s got to stop.
Is pain then a prerequisite to
love? Is it necessary to hurt the
ones we love —or is it inherent in
the very definition of love?
Or maybe people get hurt
because love is blind and it simply
keeps running into things.
A conversation about true love
should go something like this.
“Have you caused your boyfriend
any spontaneous or undue harm
lately?” And if they pause and shake
their heads then say, “Wise up and
hurt them when you get home
because if you don’t love him then
you’re going to lose him.”
Then again, maybe it’s simply
our method for achieving love that
makes it such a painful process —
we don’t step into love or open the
door to find love waiting on the
other side — no, we violently and
relentlessly fall in love.
Now if that was the only way to
get into a car, through a doorway, or
even start a career many more
humans would be bruising and
breaking their appendages.
So love hurts, we hurt the ones
we love, and like a gymnast with no
balance, we fall in love — but
perhaps I can explain all of the pain
by saying: it hurts so good.
We’ve all heard that song on the
radio that says “Come on baby make
it hurt so good.”
What a twisted and demented
picture that paints: people every
where crying out to be hurt so good.
But that makes sense doesn’t it?
If the pain hurts so good then I can
understand why people aren’t
avoiding it more.
With everything that I’ve learned
on the subject of love, I suggest that
we create an anti-love committee.
We need to write our congress
man and ask him to introduce a bill
that outlaws love, or at least creates
severe sanctions against any
individual or group promoting love.
After that we can get Bob Dole to
place a ban on any movies, songs, or
books that make love seem even
remotely appealing.
We’ll then stage a protest at the
capitol building and our signs will
read “Make love or war—it doesn’t
matter, it’s the same thing.”
Some of the local militia will
have to attend because the pro
lovists may get out of hand and turn
the whole thing ugly.
So, what will we do now that we
understand the language of love a
little better? It’s time for each
individual to make a choice because,
unfortunately, we live in America
and I can’t make the choice for
If we can’t ban love or give
people prison time for it, at least we
can slow it down a little or make its
effects a little less damaging.
Perhaps it’s possible to hide the
deleterious effects of love within the
language that we use, and then again
— maybe love will triumph over all.
Johnson is a criminal justice major
and a Daily Nebraskan columnist.
Language can heal or destroy
Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination
once again reminds us of how
dangerous extremist groups and hate
rhetoric can be.
He was killed by words.
Rabin was shot at a peace rally
following months of protest and
civil disobedience by Israeli right
wing groups in which he was
repeatedly referred to as a “traitor”
and “murderer” for his efforts at
making peace with former Israeli
enemies. Posters portraying him as
Hitler were frequently displayed at
The assassin, a 27-year-old law
student with links to the extremist
Jewish fringe, said that his actions
were based on rabbinical rulings
permitting Jews to kill people who
gave away parts of the Biblical land
of Israel.
He said that he was “glad” that
he killed Rabin.
Such combustible right-wing,
extremist rhetoric which permits
people to take the law into their own
hands is nothing new. We saw it
here at home in the Oklahoma
bombings. Unfortunately, it is on the
rise, both here and abroad.
Right wing politicians here in the
United States, as in Israel, increas
ingly demonize their opponents in
order to attract supporters.
Instead of discussing the issues,
they seem to prefer to inject warlike
rhetoric into political positions.
It happened in the 50s with the
McCarthy trials. We hear it all the
time today on talk radio.
President Clinton, in the wake of
the Oklahoma bombings, was right
when he warned that violence in
political rhetoric can breed violence
,on the streets.
As he pointed out, G. Gordon
Liddy in essence gave his blessing
to manslaughter when he said that
citizens have the “right” to commit
“self-defense” killings of federal
Talk show hosts such as Liddy,
however, are not alone in using the
political rhetoric of vilification and
violence. Newt Gingrich, for
Debra Cumberland
“Words matter. They
have a tremendous
power to bring ideas to
life, and they have a
tremendous power for
instance, demonizes the Democratic
party when he refers to them as the
“enemies” of “normal Americans.”
Anti-abortion extremist groups
also use this rhetoric. They preach
that people who perform abortions
are murderers.
They believe that God has
sanctioned their actions and will
approve any possible means to stop
an abortion.
However, they refuse to take
responsibility when their own
actions — and rhetoric — lead to
The rhetoric used by these
different groups serves a central
purpose: it objectifies human
beings, making them into villains,
people who are different from you
and me.
When this happens, it shatters the
empathetic bond that enables us to
care for one another. Once we have
stripped fellow human beings of
their humanity by turning them into
villains, traitors, and enemies, it
becomes acceptable to treat them in
whatever way serves our own self
interest, even if that leads to murder.
Thus, feminists become “femi
nazis,” meaning that they are crazy
women who don’t have to be taken
seriously. ’4 v
Saddam Hussein was, during the
Gulf War, compared to Hitler,
which meant that we didn’t have to
examine our own actions in the war.
Homosexuals become “perverts,”
meaning that they don’t deserve the
same rights as anybody else, since
they aren’t really “normal” people.
And Yitzhak Rabin, a man of
peace, was another “Hitler” and a
“traitor” to his people.
We play increasingly fast and
loose with language.
The only response we can make
to such increasingly violent and
warlike political rhetoric is to
become constant stewards of
language, and of other human
Words matter. They have a
tremendous power to bring ideas to
life, and they have a tremendous
power for destruction. We create the
world through the language we use.
Unfortunately, this power is often
forgotten in our technology
worshipping society.
Rabin’s death should remind us
— not only of the dangers of right
(and left) wing extremism — but of
the power of language to create and
to destroy.
Rabin used words to heal. He
was a man of peace, and he sought
through his own political rhetoric to
shatter language that divided,
turning neighbors into villains,
instead of fellow human beings.
We can honor Rabin’s memory
not only by supporting continued
talks between Jews and Arabs, but
by trying to put a stop to hate
rhetoric at home and abroad.
We can’t turn a deaf ear to the
rise of warlike political language.
The ramifications hit us both at
home and abroad.
Let us remember Rabin, and
foster the peace process, by using
our own words to heal.
Cumberland Is a graduate student of
English and a Dally Nebraskan columnist.
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