Careful with your words, dear citizens

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Careful with your words, dear citizens


American actress Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Academy Award for best actress for her performance in “The Iron Lady.” It is her 17th nomination, which is a record. I am a fan of Streep, but the most memorable Oscar-winning actress for me is Katharine Hepburn. While Streep has won the Academy Award only once, Hepburn has won four and been nominated 12 times. Hepburn was the nomination record holder until Streep beat her in the year Hepburn passed away.

Both actresses project the image of an intellectual. Streep is a graduate of Yale University and received an honorary doctoral degree from Harvard University two years ago. Hepburn held a degree in psychology and was very outspoken on a range of issues.

Ironically, Hepburn was fond of Streep yet described her as too intelligent and overly dependent on acting techniques.

Hepburn was also critical of Sharon Stone, who often played sexy seductresses early in her career. When Stone gained attention with the controversial 1992 film “Basic Instinct,” Hepburn said, “It’s a new low for actresses when you have to wonder what’s between her ears instead of her legs.”

People are becoming increasingly careless and harsh with their comments both online and off, but the trend is more visible in the world of social networking.

I discovered this when I first started using Twitter last year. Before signing up, I thought about my user name for a while. Then I recalled Hepburn’s quote and signed up as “betweenears.”

After I signed up, it wasn’t long before I realized that a social networking service is a space where emotion and sentiment triumph over mentality or reasoning. In other words, it’s a case of what’s between the shoulders taking precedence over what’s between the ears.

People should really learn to think before they speak. These days, what’s between the ears of Koreans is becoming problematic. The emergency leadership council of the Grand National Party is about to announce a pledge to the nation that includes clauses about not playing golf or smoking in public. It’s laughable and pathetic.

I miss the old days when people thought seriously and calmly before speaking or acting. We should strive to be like Katharine Hepburn, who was not only a great actress but also a serious and prudent person.

The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

Noh Jae-hyun
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