Effects of Collective Nouns.

My thesis is that the use of collective nouns, such as men, women, aboriginal, migrant, refugee, (the more specific the more influential) in mass media affects identity and dynamics about the given identity. As contrast, individuals in the media will not produce the same effects. This, if true, has a critical role to play in feelings of anonymity, a modern health issue caused by massive populations. As suicide becomes an increasingly severe problem in the developed world, and the recognising the role of anonymity in suicide, this may produce changes which can mitigate this horror (which is by no means isolated to developed nations).

This is not a thorough sociological, statistical investigation to validate my opinion. It is my opinion and it just makes sense to me. So I shall lay out my case in hopes of persuading you, the reader. I make my case with the intent to demonstrate some evidence and reasoning that lack of men as a collective noun in Australian mass media, is an actionable factor in the horrible male suicide statistics. Often issues disproportionately affecting men (such as being overworked) are not discussed as such, and are instead reported or discussed as Australian problems. This re-labelling of men’s problems as Australian problems diverts public discourse, which is a form of community care & attention and an aspect of a better tomorrow.

Inner stories supply people with a framework to manage living, and individual narratives are are created from national, or other community, materials.
[How many Asiatic people have mentioned their lack of mathematical skills to me? Some, way more than any other ethincity, so this is personal evidence of individuals feeling an urge to relate themselves to the stereotype.]
Modern, larger-than-life (which I believe are effective at reducing suicide) narratives are found in many communities but major sources are simple to identify, such as cinema, literature and mass media. I reckon presence of a specific collective noun in the mass media would increase subjective relation to the identity born from the noun and also boost social effects (such as attending specific cultural events) of that collective. Lack of collective nouns will increase feelings of anonymity and associated problems, extending beyond suicide / mental health to things such as diminished political participation.

Individual men are more common figures in the mass media than individual women. However, I believe that there will be less subjective identification with a public figure as opposed to a collective category. Beneficial effects of collective nouns will either exist in significantly reduced quality & quantity or will not at all be caused by media conversation about individuals.

Feminism, which has had many significant successes and still has many significant objectives, has grown conversation about women’s problems to a towering juggernaut. Feminism casts a shadow which I believe to be a factor in the existence of problematic mental health in men. This effect would be restricted to men (and not extend to say, LGBT), as the binary male / female would indicate the domain in which the identity is to be relatively judged. To develop this concept, a relative judgement will contrast what is relevant, men / women collective noun usage being the obvious measuring posts. Scrolling down a news group’s Facebook page in search of collective nouns (& not individuals) shows more media focus on, & therefore national community identity / narrative material for, women.

A simple demonstration is to read an article focused on a community, identify the collective noun, such as men, and replace that term with a broader collective noun, such as Spaniards. Such a shift reduces informative ability of the article, and so reduces political effects of the community & / article (less information, leads less informed decisions, leads less effective action, leads less action). Further it reduces immediate identification with the facets of the article in question. So to say it differently, individual men in media are weaker at causing the male community to relate to the discourse and is one of the array of factors which inhibit drawing their own inner narrative from the readily accessible mass media.

What Is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the explanation. The questions held in common are the most common areas of philosophy; Why are we here? What for? When does it start? The best explanation, in alignment with the scientific method, not only connects abstract concepts with the concrete reality, it also suggests what happens next.
For millennia assorted gods understood by holy people or prophets or shamen were the best explanation. Now, the people with PhD’s (philosophical degrees of … domain) are expected to have the answers. As a divine explanation gave way to natural philosophy, so to did natural philosophy become physics & biology & chemistry, etcetera. As a parallel, philosophy of logic become involved with modern computing & coding.

Interpretation is the eternal cause of philosophy. No matter the depth of understanding when Descartes wrote his utterance”Cogito Ergo Sum”, the reader must at least know Latin. They may not know meta-physics, Descartes was interested in building his explanation from the deepest doubt up, so he found the deepest certainty, that of a self.
Examine a philosophy of, “Always butter the corners of the toast and the rest will look after itself.”. On the surface, this explanation is of no use to any non-toast related application. Application to untoasted bread is an extension, and not explicit in the philosophy. Further development to a distinct, non-food related, facet of life, perhaps study, is due to the individual. In relation to study, “Always butter the corners of the toast and the rest will look after itself.”, could be interpreted to mean focus on the tricks and tricky parts of the subject, and the rest will naturally follow. But is this re-application due to the philosophy, or the individual?

Good philosophy will make use of common knowledge. A philosophy in Latin is of use to Latin speakers, but of scant value to a Singaporean. A philosophy chock full of esoteric terms may be useless for the those outside the domain, but does require that definitions and boundaries be learnt explicitly instead of implicitly.
Allow me to demonstrate this dynamic. Force in common usage is a vague term, force in reference to cinema has an obvious bastion, and force in scientific usage has a stricter definition. The situation in biology contrasts this lump of language. In biology a fish is only the common name for a great diversity of living things, and a PhD graduate would not use the term, but instead the Latin name which carries the biological tree of life (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Specie). So, a philosophy may become mystic & magical, or material & mechanical depending on the state of affairs in need of explanation. Is it better that learning be a growth of the old understanding, or a wholly new understanding?

Tides, which were once the domain of Neptune, have become the territory of an offshoot of natural philosophy, tidal sciences. If you were to describe the tides, would you say the water is always knee deep, but sometimes more? Or would you say the water is between knee and hip depth but constantly varies? How should relationships and dynamics be described?

Philosophy is the best explanation and should carry what is relevant. The philosophy of the scientific method insists on repeatability and predictive results. Reinterpretation continues to keep alive theology, and the art industry. Terminology and dynamism are common between many areas of philosophy.

What’s the difference between an excuse and an explanation?

Frailty of Language.

The English language is a mess. This might be why it is the global language, tonal languages, Cantonese for example, don’t really permit much accent. Strict grammar rules, such as those of formal Japanese, are limiting to the curious and the lazy learners who don’t worry about tough thorough thought.

It is not clear to me if English is really sloppy when it allows words to be exact opposites and identical in pronunciation or if it is a peculiar quirk to force clearer messages. Whole & hole, for example are pronounced identically, unless your one of those peculiar people who pronounce w’s and h’s, as was Rick Roderick. Want & wont are another example of the same but different type. Routine and retinue are almost there, but as the later has fallen from common usage, we may have avoided a few awkward situations where you don’t quite know if the speaker is saying their friends are dullards or if they somehow found their way onto the British film classification board.

If you change something for having read this, please, please, please, use -t instead of -ed. It sounds like dreamt to the listener, no one dream-ed anything. The toast isn’t burn-ed, but burnt and that’s how my shoulders feel after riding in the midday sun for far too long. If you found this funny, I would refer you to David Mitchell stand-alone comedy, or to his skit shows and Peepshow, but it’s more likely that I’ll be born again tomorrow than you don’t already know.