All this shit people write about sticks and stones might break your bones but words can never hurt you is so far from the truth. Words are dangerous. Words are powerful. Words bring down governments, words written down forged religions, civilizations. Who said words can’t hurt you? Mein Kampf? That caused plenty of death, pain and world wars. Das Kapital – Marx’s manifesto seems to have forged entire paradigms. The Egyptian book of the Dead caused men to build pyramids. The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir got people talking about feminism. Ginsburg’s Howl redefined obscenity and broke open freedom of expression. Words are how we express who we are, what we believe in, and allow us to organize and effect change.
Words don’t just break bones, words forge worlds and bring them down, too.
So when people say linguistical shit like “I am sorry you took it that way” after saying something, or writing something offensive and you pointing out the offense called, when they seek to redefine words so inelegantly that their ideas they set out on a clumsy stall could provoke hatred or revenge or more dehumanization towards another group within our deeply broken society, then those words are simply inadequate and lazy, but then words once out there are difficult to take back. Words can make a fool out of us all. Words can make a man cry or sing. Words are all we have.
Words are swords. Words are weapons. Words can be wielded like a club, or shone with the precision of a laser. Do not underestimate words.
To mis-assign words is to misrepresent an entire culture, an entire idea. To miss-assign words is to deny reality, to deny safety, to open doors that should be shut, and shut doors which can be open.
Just the act of writing and disseminating words is a very dangerous thing indeed, and one which men have sought to control. Pamphlet wars triggered by the advent of the cheap mass press caused the Protestant Reformation, the French Revolution. Before there are weapons, there are words.
I hear words be used to describe my son, and people I care about. Anti Asian slurs against physical racial characteristics. Tell us to ignore them? To not be fragile. I know before weapons there are words, and weapons are not far behind, but instead of responsibility being taken instead others have pointed to my fragility as the reason for my offense. They dare to be sorry I “took it that way?” I do not know this world where words are not moments behind weapons.
Some words do not belong in some mouths, some words have no need to be flung around carelessly by those who cannot claim them. These words should be gatekept and used carefully by those that have the right to wield them. They are not universal swords.
“BITCH!” “SLUT!” “WHORE!” was always followed by violence, because these words are violence. You cannot reclaim these word from their violent end point. You cannot reclaim these words from war. These words are war.
Personally I prefer writing peace, writing understanding, writing knowledge, writing support. I prefer writing strength and I prefer writing encouragement.
But I am aware, as small as I am, the pen is mighty. The power of the internet, greater than the printing press ever was, has the power to change the world. Look at the words shared by the idiots who thought someone called Q was in the middle of some huge conspiracy – they shared words and people in the Capitol died. These words were twisted and wrong, mean and dangerous.
Words are not arbitrary. Words have accepted meaning that we have agreed on.
Be careful with your words, because fighting words are the most dangerous thing in the world. They can make or break someone. They can cause harm, or pleasure, support or deny. Words are power. I use mine carefully. I try not to waste them. I cry over wasted words uselessly like spilt milk spoiling in the mid day sun. Words are an expression of our humanity….or lack of it.
I fall on my sword. My words. I impale myself on them, sharper than any sword. Be careful with your words…you could be treading on someone’s soul.