Word problem is an issue

Not the word problem—the word ‘problem’. It’s an issue.

Because these days there aren’t any problems. They’ve been taken away and I don’t know why. Course, we still have problems, they don’t go away, but we call them issues.

Like the prostate cancer issue. There was an advert on the wireless, exhorting men to have regular checkups. Not because prostate cancer is a problem, oh no, but because prostate cancer can kill you.

So now, mere issues can kill you. Surely that’s a problem?

Nuts. Why don’t we call a spade a spade and a problem a problem, like we used to? Then we could have issues distinct from problems. Spend weeks having meetings on them. Oh, wait, we do that now, but we call them issues.

Are we these days weak? Have we lost the strength to confront problems as strong men once did? Must we disguise the nasty truth to spare our feelings? Do we have no balls?

Perhaps. But it would still be no issue—that’s what no balls means.

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5 Thoughts on “Word problem is an issue

  1. Maggy Wassilieff on 09/08/2016 at 9:56 am said:

    The solution to your problem is to use words precisely.

    An issue that arises, however, is that some (modern) dictionaries treat issue (n) and problem as synonyms.

    For politicians and bureaucrats it is expedient to label a problem as an issue, for then a solution need never be provided.

    (and I have no balls, in the air, or otherwise).

  2. Andy on 09/08/2016 at 10:26 am said:

    There was an advert on the wireless

    You don’t hear the term “wireless” so often these days. I don’t suppose “the transistor” is used much either

  3. Richard Treadgold on 09/08/2016 at 10:40 am said:


    Heh, heh. You are so right!

    use words precisely.

    Oh, that we would teach our children their own language, saturate them with the utility, nay, the sheer delight, of linguistic precision and give them the broad vocabulary that makes it possible.

  4. Richard Treadgold on 09/08/2016 at 10:46 am said:


    Not often used, no. Your comment connects with the exchange with Maggy, in that several terms for the one thing allows for greater nuance in expression. I remember Pam Corkery used wireless constantly to refer to radio. I love English. Or is it I love the sound of my own voice…

  5. Gary Kerkin on 15/08/2016 at 11:34 am said:

    You are probably not unique, Richard T, I think we all like, if not love, the sounds of our own voices. However, I really wanted to pick up on your citing Pam Corkery. IMHO her best aphorism was written on the back of Richard Prebble’s book “I’ve Been Thinking”. She wrote “We must ensure Richard never thinks again!”

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