In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros

Tuning Out the Babble in Your Life

Political discourse is the lowest form of conversation, but is ironically marked by what are called "towering arguments." Closer examination however often reveals them to be nothing more than Towers of Babel.

The original tower (Genesis 11:4) was built by the descendants of Noah looking for a short cut to Heaven, "bab" plus "el" literally meaning "gate of God." God, however, was not at all pleased with their efforts, and vented his displeasure in a rather unique way.

Since humanity at this time spoke a single language, he acted "to confound their language that they may not understand one another's speech" (Genesis 11:7). This resulted in hundreds of different voices speaking different tongues, each struggling to be heard — not unlike panels of candidates for public office or political talk shows on Cable TV.

Speculation, however, abounds as to whether that is indeed the source of all our current babble.

Though most think speechmaking a serious business, some also consider it child's play. "Ba-ba-ba..." cries the infant, making her initial sounds and first attempts at speech. The "ba-ba" named the "babe" itself. The "-le," intensified and exaggerated its frequency, as in "trickle" and "startle," creating the unceasing "babble," the stream of incoherent utterances to which we are subject daily.