Sunday, January 19, 2014


I've always been amazed (or should I say amused) by the constant use of the word "community" in American English.

The latest example of this I found today while preparing my Public Diplomacy Press and Blog Review: "sniper community" (Douglas Ernst, "U.S. super-snipers: ‘Smart’ rifles tested by military could be game-changer, Washington Times):
TrackingPoint Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jason Schaubie told the defense website that military snipers have a fire-shot success rate from that range of between 20 percent to 30 percent (which jumps to 70 percent on their second attempt). ...

When asked Mr. Schaube [somehow the "i" was dropped (or added) in his last name by the Washington Times's careful editors - JB] what the sniper community thinks of the smart rifle, he replied: “This is not necessarily for them. This is for guys who don’t have that training who need to perform in greater capabilities. This is more for your average soldier.”
The examples of the rampant use of "community" go on and on: the "university community" rather than simply "the university"; "the intelligence community" rather than "spies"; the "gay community" other than (say) "gay people."

Sociologists doubtless have a learned explanation for this "community" linguistic phenomenon.

But could it express a longing, in our highly mobile, often uprooted  USA, for a sense of real community that is increasingly disappearing, despite the proliferation of virtual, ephemeral "communities" on the Internet?

P.S. And this one just in: "Deadly attack rattles expat community in Kabul."

--Image from

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