This blog primarily explores how language impacts our understanding and experience of the physical world--especially when it comes to violence.
Violence, says scholar Vivian Jabri, is around us all the time even if we cannot see it.
To use a little analogy -- Active violence (shooting, fighting, etc) is like lighting a match in a room filled with gas. The media blames the match, Jabri blames the gas.
For twenty years I have worked for a freelance writer for St. Martins Press. I write the instructor manual for their college-level language awareness and writing textbooks. This along and my work in narrative approaches to conflict resolution have trained my ears and eyes to pay attention to how our words perpetuate social and political discord.
Today, I'm giving the boot to "boot camps" and calling back joyous camps!
The most recent phrase that has grabbed my attention is Boot Camp. Boot camp is the perfect name for military training. My father said when he was in the reserves he remembers marching 10 miles in boots that made his feet bleed. Then they fit perfectly. He felt so proud completing this rigorous training and he left loving his boots.
Soldiers fight -- boot camps are for soldiers. War is part of the sad, if at times necessary, tool of liberty. Fine-- will we do this until we find a better solution, but must we now have Finance Boot Camps, Networking Boot Camps and even Yoga Boot Camps?
If you spend your life preparing for war, you'll likely find one. Not only does the broad use of this term support the hypermilitarization of all sectors of society it promotes a hyper-masculine way of learning. Not everything has to be done with super intensity to be absorbed or mastered. In fact it cannot always be learned this way.
LEARNING CANNOT ALWAYS BE CRAMMED
Not everything can be learned by shoving it down your throat. I have just spent 5 years doing doctoral research. During that time, interviewing over a hundred people, I realize that understanding takes time for a number of reasons. It takes time to absorb material and then see how that material works in the world. My opinions have changed many times throughout the course of my research. Had I just gone to "Dissertation Boot Camp" I would have missed all that growth.
It takes many hours and sometimes it takes starring out the window while mindlessly picking your nose to let the material sink in.
Life is short. I get that. Time is precious. I get that too. But you cannot shove it all in as a response. I mean you can, but then you live life like you're in a battle...running 10+ miles a day at breakneck speed towards what? The destination is the same for us all.
TAKING CAMP BACK
If you must go to a Relationship Boot Camp or what-have-you please at least chuckle and the use of the term. If you're organizing a workshop please consider calling it something else. We really don't need to militarize gardening, event planning, management training, yoga, or retirement preparation.
You can keep the "camp" part-- Camp is fun! Camp is about friendship, laughter, and learning through joy and silly songs. At least my camp, Fleur de Lis was and is still like that.
Consider giving the boot to "boot camp" and embracing camp, camp. You can still learn about finance, relationships, diplomacy while singing silly songs. Heck, my fellow campers and I became NRA experts on the 22- rifle and competed successfully against the boys camps. We didn't need boots-- we needed songs... "Our aim is good and we'll be fair...we'll hang you on the Weeping Willow Tree and raise the flag of Fleur de Lis!. Ra Ra!"