Mixed messages are rampant, and their effect is usually one of two things: confusion or fear. Both of which can lead to a state of suspended inaction. What are people to think these days? A little clarity please, would be nice, if not wise.
The jumble of words and images slung at people day after day begins to resemble a garden overgrown with weeds. Hopefully, most folks can clear away the tangled messaging and find some sense among the vines. Something that is what it is, and means what it means.
Here are a few tangled messages that come to mind:
There’s nothing to fear, but if we don’t fix this problem there could be disastrous effects.
My door is always open, just please call first and not between 8-4 or 5-9.
This new drug will cure your disease, but it may kill you.
Isn’t it fabulous? There are now 2545 channels on tv and you can watch them all day everyday, even all at once!
And then, perhaps thankfully, some mixed messages elicit humor. (What were they thinking?) Unfortunately, they still have the fear/confusion factor in play. (Apologies to Mr. Rothenberg, but one must admit this image hardly elicits optimism.)
I like a good riddle as much as the next person, but if it’s not meant to be a riddle, please don’t go there! A little extra thought is well worth the investment of time, especially if it avoids a tangled mixed-up message.