The Master of Words

Words appearing on a computer screen, printed on paper, or spoken through a microphone hold a certain measure of power on their own.  But when skillfully controlled by a master, words can unleash the potential for absolute power.  In Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass, Wonderland's "Master of Words" reveals that simple truth to Alice: "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master -- that's all." Although Carroll's Wonderland series is popularly considered children's fiction, that particular quotation, as noted by Dr. Jacco Bomhoff in the ComparativeLawBlog, has actually been cited in several important court decisions discussing the interpretation, construction, and retrospective application of law. Bomhoff concluded: [T]he real...(Read Full Article)

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