Essay

Glass Houses and the Stones in Hand [Flash Fiction]

An expositor writes a piece about facts, figures, numerals and percentages of populations in relation to the numbers bandied about for rhetorical/political effect, and perhaps how they can be used, have been used, what they say or do not say, much the way photographs say what we want them to say by either looking or focusing on the framing chosen, how each photograph has been cropped.

Too many people use words that represent something done as a means to substitute for being able to do what the word expresses having been done or will be done or could be done, what is in the doing that is never in the saying?

Losing sight of the people for the forrest, the forrest for humanity, we assume.

Nearly 500 Chinese women commit suicide daily in China. China also has the highest suicide rate irrespective of gender, but that is most likely because the suicide rate among women is so high. Of course, just what per cent of the population of women in China this number represents is easy to calculate; it might be a good idea to supplement numbers with per cent of population when figuring things like suicide, psychopathy, poverty, illiteracy. But then our love affair with numerals in statistics leads us to make no more accurate assessments than any two lovers can for the world around them, often as eclipsed as is any reality from our understanding when we submit our assessments to the numbers we garner from our statistical analysis, the latter never nearly complete or thorough-going enough to be useful, as if final assessments should ever be made based entirely or nearly entirely on numbers or rested on a theory of utility alone. Ours is, though, a fetish for stats (itself a truncation of the word statistics, indicative of how we cut or curtail our understanding of the numbers we garner or use as stones to throw at those whose opinions differ from our own); our fascination for numbers has become an obsession rather than an organic love for the subjects we throw our numbers at–in matters of helping, governments nearly always lose sight of the subjects who they intend to help. We always lose sight of the people for the forrest of stats .

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