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Taking Acception
“It is unacceptable.”

You hear that phrase a lot these days, whether we’re talking about one of the many offenses delivered to us by this modern world or some fresh outrage fulminating out of the President’s Twitter account. The assertion is always accompanied by the firmest intonation and soberest of facial expressions, as if we have truly reached a point past which we cannot go.

But it seems we always do. Go past the outrage, that is, and on to ever more outrages and even more troubling states of affairs. And when we arrive at these new junctures, there will always be someone who will step forward and very seriously declare that the new situation is “unacceptable.”

I have no quarrel here with people taking this kind of offense. We need to take a stand in these situations and confront our tormentors. My gripe is that these speakers, after they have stood up, just sit right down again. Perhaps they expect others to take on the risks involved with actual action. When you say something is unacceptable, however, it creates a fair expectation that you are prepared to act on your expressed displeasure. Okay, I’ve reached my limit, this declaration seems to say, and now I will step up and put a stop to it.

Otherwise, it’s bullshit. You are making a tacit promise to act, but you do not. “Unacceptable” ends up meaning exactly the same as “acceptable,” only with an added layer of hypocrisy. Suddenly, everything you say is suspect.

So please, can we stop using the term “unacceptable” unless we really mean it? Either we are willing to follow through or we’re just flapping our gums. And if you decide to keep saying it anyway, I will call out your usage as lame, insincere, hollow, and totally bogus.

I will not, however, say that it is unacceptable. I guess I’m not ready to make that kind of commitment.
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee