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This place matters

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Words, words, words

I picked up Willard R Espy's Words at Play to lay some fun word stuff down for a change, but his introduction was a pretty big buzzkill. Yes, I read introductions. You find this surprising?
Espy postits that words are useless but for trivia, entertainment, and play. They can't be used to affect change in a society that speaks less and less intelligently. We communicate, he says, in fists, in bombs, in flag waving. Workers communicate with their bosses by striking, petulant children stomp their feet, parents hug or spank. "The pretense that words make a difference in human affairs," he says, "is one of the oldest and dirtiest tricks of English teachers and the ruling classes."
To which I say
you lazy, bitter old twat.
Human beings didn't stop evolving when we started walking erect. Women are less and less compelled or required to breed with only the strongest, the most aggressive. Smart is becoming sexy, because in our world, smart is money, smart is power, smart is the future. Nerds are inheriting the earth. Passive, doughy, too-lazy-to-harm-a-fly, nerds. 
It was words that ended the cold war, words that averted The Cuban missile crisis. Words like "it gets better" may be talking a bullied kid out of ending her life right now.

The Vagina Monologues changed my life. And no, I'm really, really not just trying to plug the show (February 25th 7pm the UU Congregation of Greater Canton, hit me up for more details and to order tickets). I'm just saying that it changed my life when I first saw it because it woke me up to being more comfortable in my own skin, less ashamed of my own body. Listening to, repeating the words of women who have survived violence worse than I could imagine means I'm never going to forget to speak and act.
Weapons fueled the war that ended slavery, but Clara Barton's words might have incited it - or so Lincoln proclaimed. The Constitution of the United States contains the most important words in American history, and I do believe in them; I do believe those words embody our nation's potential. Call me naive. 
MLK, Susan B Anthony, St. Augustine, Professor X - men and women of words who changed the course of my life and ushered in  new eras. Like an era in which human and mutant can live together in harmony. 
Words tweeted and social networked fueled the Arab spring. And man, if Yoko Ono's voice wasn't so damn annoying, the Beatles might still be together. Aside from the whole... you know, half of them being dead thing.
Words are my life, my passion, my only real talent. And I make a difference. I do. So put that in your cynical, snooty pipe and smoke it, Willard Espy. Also your word puzzles are too hard. Too hard, I say!
Also, this:

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