The Word You are Looking for is “Exodus”

The depletion of writing talent over at ScienceBlogs may be the end of the world. I would not know and do not particularly care. The times, they are a changing. What gets me, and I’ll admit this is pedantic, is the use of inappropriately dramatic language to describe what is, really, a relatively minor event. The event is now known as The ScienceBlogs DiasporaTM.

Maybe I’m being tetchy, but the use of the term “Diaspora” rubs me the wrong way. Definition-wise, its not a bad term. In terms of historical context and connotation, it is a poor choice:

In all cases, the term diaspora carries a sense of displacement; that is, the population so described finds itself for whatever reason separated from its national territory; and usually its people have a hope, or at least a desire, to return to their homeland at some point, if the “homeland” still exists in any meaningful sense. – Wikipedia entry “Diaspora”

In short:

Diaspora: Being displaced from a place you want to go back to.

Exodus: Choosing to leave a place en masse, because said place sucks.

Which one sounds more appropriate to you?

Hey, if you don’t think words have power, why are we reading and writing? And, don’t take my word for it. Perhaps the most highly regarded science writer out there, Carl Zimmer, also uses the word “exodus”, although the comments are less subtle.

Author: Josh Witten

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: