Tuesday, November 06, 2001

Passion. Is it just raw emotional intensity? Is the scale of emotional energy emitted the defining characteristic of passion?

Some think so.

Yet it seems to me that passion is confined to those things about which we genuinely care, which explains why all the examples that Jeneane uses are about "giving a crap".

There are lots of things that stimulate raw emotional intensity in me, but only a subset of them that I am passionate about. Even the painful ones I can't say I am passionate about avoiding, I just don't like them.

There's a bit of a trend today to ascribe noble (or noble-sounding) concepts to our basest urges, as if that excuses them. The constant substitution of "passion" for what is in reality often no more than raw emotional intensity emitted without thought or concern for - or even recognition of - consequences, has seriously devalued the word in common parlance.

Imagine yourself, Jeneane, ascribing passion to an ad simply because ads are broadcast at higher volume than the programming that people actually want to watch. You would never mistake the saccharine enthusiasm of an ad voice-over for the One True Passionate Voice - would you?

This trend is also, in my estimation (for whatever that is worth) a characteristic of the unintelligent.

Passion demands a certain amount of intelligence, and the application of that intelligence to the objects of our passion. It demands a particular understanding and involvement that the momentary impulse cannot displace nor act as substitute for. Our babies can express raw emotional intensity - it's difficult to sensibly claim that they're expressing their passion.

You may have noticed that terminological inexactitudes bother me . . . . . . .

With this in mind, when I read Jeneanes thoughts on the passionate voice, the One True Voice, and Andrews objections to that, I'm thinking that I have a small number of One True Voices that I may use to express my take on the small number of things I am passionate about.

I also have a large collection of prostitute voices that at best express a measure of disregard for their respective audiences and often enough outright contempt.

Is there a One True One True Voice? If so, I haven't found it yet . . . . . .

No comments: