After reading David Herd’s Through, as well as having time to talk with him in our class, and finally getting to hear him read in Doty, I went home thinking about the ways language is fluid. Herd talked to us about how a Prime Minister in England had hoped to treat the issue of illegal immigration with hostility. And although I’ve forgotten the woman’s name who served as Prime Minister, and her words here are paraphrased simply from Herd himself, Herd seemed to take issue with term hostile. And reasonably so, I suppose, as you’d hope that a leader of a nation would want to treat people in their country with hospitality, rather than hostility.
Through, then, seems like Herd’s way to counter this movement of hostile language, or perhaps to counter the disregard of the weight of language. I don’t want to get too political, but in watching Donald Trump’s campaign and eventual presidency, I noticed, as I’m sure much of the world did, that he’d altered expectations regarding the lexicon in debates, speeches, and interviews for a presidential candidate. He’s mocked a disabled reporter, referred to his opponent as a “nasty woman,” he insulted ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega more recently by stating that she’s “not thinking. You never do.” So while you may be in support of his presidency or against it, I think it’s clear to everyone that Trump has taken liberties with language as the POTUS, in a very public and informal manner, that’s unprecedented.
Through doesn’t comment on the Trump administration, to my knowledge, but I think many of the issues Herd speaks to, which are largely in regards to the U.K., are relevant here in the U.S. Whether we like it or not, language will remain fluid and the battle that Herd is participating in might never come to an end.