One of the most devastating means of communication that I have ever encountered is doublespeak. When somebody talks to you in doublespeak, they shake hands with you with one hand while simultaneously clubbing you over the head with the other. Doublespeak is talking in code.
The way I see it, much of the confusion in politics, religion, love and finance stems from the usage of coded language. In doublespeak, a person will outwardly say one thing that is defensible and benign while covertly dog-whistling an entirely different message to those who respond to the code. For example, “Make America great again.” We all really know what that means—and we can tell what it means by who supports it.
Doublespeak has its roots in sarcasm, cynicism and deception. It’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It’s when “good ol’ boy” doesn’t mean people like me. It positions my relatives and friends as interlopers to be tolerated at the discretion of the good ol’ boys. My understanding is that the Canadian equivalent is “old stock.”
Using code to designate boundaries between the disparate entities in our society is like when the seams don’t quite line up in a quilt. An awful lot of work goes into something that just doesn’t feel or look right. The value is lowered.
We must be careful not to let Winnipeg be like that. There’s a lot of good material here to work with. We just have to piece it together with care, patience and tolerance so we can create an environment that embraces everyone with the warmth and comfort of a cozy quilt.
What I want in Winnipeg is a festival for peace. A peace festival has great potential to bring creative thought to the foreground. A peace festival must include many, many styles of music as well as dance, literature, art, film, lectures, science and agriculture. We can attract a very large cross-section of people with common or similar interests. We may discover connections that we didn’t know existed.
One of the most important elements of the festival has to be the food. Everybody eats and food is pan-cultural. Most people like French, Italian, Japanese, Thai, Middle Eastern, African, Brazilian or southern comfort food from the USA.
Leaders in every field or discipline—arts, sciences, technology, business, development—will want to work together towards a common goal. That goal is peace and tolerance for all. The upshot from this whole initiative is that leaders in every field will be compelled to collaborate and marshal their constituents. We can involve everyone in the city. We can raise the awareness of our interdependence with one another.
I want everyone to get a piece of the peace festival. I want this festival to be something important and an integral part of world society. We can just pick a day and do it. We can start with a band, an interesting speaker, and a plate of food with arranged flowers—or we can go for something on a much larger scale. We just have to do it and build from there. Winnipeg is a city right in the middle of everything. It’s time for us to act like that. Let’s build a peace festival.