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Tycho / on Mon, Aug 17 2009 at 12:00 am

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The True Face Of Our Enemy

The Think B4 You Speak campaign is basically incoherent, and operates from some deep misconceptions about how and why people communicate.  These assertions have been collated and placed sequentially in today’s comic offering.

Trying to regulate how people speak is a problematic endeavor.  People sometimes try to assert that Information Wants To Be Free, when that isn’t actually true, because information can’t want things.  It’s a false corollary of something that is true, though - namely, that Communication Cannot Be Contained.  A true corollary of this notion would be that People Will Say Things You Don’t Like, And May Even Hate, a shard of schoolyard wisdom I previously thought well distributed.

The incoherency springs from the fact that the spots themselves insult the target of their message, which might work to attract attention, but the actual payload of the spots isn’t savage enough to kindle any kind of genuine analysis.  They’re trying to regulate jerks by being jerks, but they’re not really jerks, so they can’t carry it off.  This is the danger of assuming that your opponent is anything like yourself.  They need to give their actual hatred of this practice a voice, every moment they were compressed into some subset of themselves, every brutal act, every misshapen poem they were forced to write, and concentrate this into a fragmentary lozenge of spoken power.

No-one responds to this kind of diffuse scolding, least of all young men, least of all from strangers who present themselves as archwizards of prim speech and perfect morality.  Bigots and stupid kids speak this way expressly to promulgate the root concepts or to provoke a reaction.  Telling them to “knock it off,” as this campaign hilariously does, is like exposing your belly to these wolves.

Lexically speaking, the word Gay is a battleground of warring meanings, uses, and baggage.  The fact that the slur has retained its power - for all parties involved - is evidence that the conflict is ongoing, and that its destiny is not yet established.  I have tremendous support for them in their aim: the wresting of language, which is identity, from the unworthy foe.  If you want to hunt this kind of game, though, you need bigger ordnance.

(CW)TB out.

they’ll cut us down again


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