Richard Cohen in The Washington Post offered a short rant on the cheapening of the word love in our culture.
We have become a nation of phonies. We love everyone. We don’t merely like them or respect them or hold them in some esteem. We love them.” (“Viewpoint,” by Richard Cohen, from The Washington Post, reprinted in The Week 3/1/13.)
Americans have never been a stand-offish people. We call perfect strangers by their first names upon early acquaintance. We touch each other by shaking hands or hugging and even kissing, the last being a growing habit which Cohen also eschews. Behaving with so much intimacy abroad will get an American not only strange looks but strange reactions.
I like the openness in our society, though instant intimacy has its risks. A welcoming manner means I may learn more about a person’s colonoscopy or divorce than I would care to. Everyone has a story to tell and in our society, everyone is encouraged to tell it. Mystery is a commodity we banished long ago. Perhaps the habit of openness is a carryover from our frontier days when we had to size up a stranger quickly or risk being robbed or worse.
In the case of love, however, I do agree with Cohen. The word is cheapened by over use. I hear it everywhere nowadays, expressed by someone I barely know or who sends me love via Facebook as kind of salutation, nothing more. When someone closes a message on social media with “love you,” I know it isn’t true and wonder why a stranger feels compelled to say it. I don’t expect love from someone I barely know or have never met. Worse, with everything being loved, from to puppies to doughnuts, what word do I use when I wish to say, “I really, really care.”?
I blame the New Age for ushering in so much love and like Cohen, I wish we’d all stop it.
(Courtesy of www.allposters.com)