In So Many Words

Info-Comics by Larry Paros


Becoming Properly Informed

Social and political commentators tell us we are in the midst of an information explosion. What they fail to mention, however, is that the original purpose of information was to help shape and educate us, thus playing a major role in our formation.

On closer examination, however, much of what passes for information today turns out to be ballyhoo — sensational advertising and self promotion, originating in Ballyhooly, a village in County Cork, Ireland, which is primarily noted for its roisterous character. Ballyhoo was the stuff of circuses and sideshows of the last century, complete with a bally stand on which the barker stood, encouraging you inside.

The rest is garbled, from the Old Arabic word, ghirbal, for a "sieve." As a verb, it originally meant, "to remove the refuse" from spices; later, "to take out the best of anything."

Unfortunately, by the time our purveyors of information have finished separating concept from context, destroying all continuity and meaning, there's not much left to sift through. The best has already been extracted; only the residue remains.

What can we leave you with? If you think the Media is jumping all over you, just add the Latin, in, "on" and salire, "to leap," literally "to leap on someone," leaving you with an insult to both your intelligence and your person.