In Brendon Larson’s paper “The war of the roses: demilitarizing invasion biology, Larson expresses his opinion on the diction used in recent journal articles on invasive species. Larson feels that the diction used is entirely too militaristic. The journal articles contains grasping metaphors that are intended to attract attention and cause people to want to take action immediately. Although this technique is effective, Larson feels that the use of militaristic metaphors is troublesome. This type of language causes the readers to misinterpret the invasive species problem and to oversimplify the problem. From this militaristic perspective, the language confuses the reader into thinking the problem that exists is a war-like situation involving the human population verses the invasive species with no other factors involved.
In my own blog post, I used the militaristic style and oversimplified an invasive species problem. While explaining the ongoing termite problem in New Orleans, I said, ”If more action is not conducted, the termites will eventually eat away at the building until it collapses causing the city of New Orleans to flood.” I created a man verses environment problem with this statement by saying that only human control could stop this problem from occurring, which could cause radical ideas and plans to be made, which could in effect cause even more problems. Based on the opinion of my own error, I personally agree with Larson’s opinion that militaristic language does not convey the entire picture of the invasive species problem. This linguistic style does oversimplify the problem and presents opportunities for immediate and impractical ideas to be formed and conducted. Larson goes on to say that instead of a militaristic analogy, a health analogy would be much more effective. I agree with Larson’s opinion that the health metaphor is more effective and allows the reader to gain a better understanding of the problem. With a health analogy, not only is the danger of the invasive species presented, but it is also expressed in a way that the human population is not the only cause of the problem and that the environment also has a large role in the situation.
When people are confronted with an issue that they don’t know much about, but need to act upon with some sense of immediacy, there must be a level of oversimplification. The danger I think with the way oversimplification is being used in invasive biology is due to the combination of oversimplification and one militaristic viewpoint on how to address the problem. When this is done, people feel like if they respond to a problem, they are taking a side, rather than choosing a side and actively participating in fixing it. People must feel like they were first informed, then offered options that they can act upon to successfully eradicate a problem.
I felt that your article was very well written and that your opinion was expressed articulately. I think, however, that sometimes the public does not get involved in issues unless there are two opposing sides and a “militaristic” approach is taken. As Larson states, even the health metaphors have been turned militaristic (“fight against cancer”). I agree that different metaphors would more accurately represent the issues however I also think that it is much more difficult to gain public support without the use of this kind of language.