Sunday 13 August 2017

Nerd Church - Wars of Words

Warning: this post discusses a lot of sh** that went down this week, including Nazis and a lot of bigotry.

Buckle your seatbelts, Cee's got some sh*t to lay down.

girl with speech bubbles pic

Words have power.

If you're reading this blog there's a chance that you already know this. The whole world moves, shakes, turns, and shimmies on words.

It's how we communicate, transfer ideas, and generally get on with the business of being human beans.

As such, most societies agree that freedom of speech is uber-uber-uber-important.

(Although, I've spoken before about the fine line of avoiding censorship vs. avoiding bigotry. I also don't pretend to have the answers on that!)

Freedom of speech, however, in whatever form you have it, does not include freedom from criticism.

If you say something racist, I'm allowed to say, 'Hey, that's racist.' I'm not censoring you. I'm giving an opinion (or a fact.)

If you stage a march shouting white supremacist slogans, I'm allowed to call you a f**king Nazi. It's how it works.

Unfortunately, there is this trend at the moment for, mainly right-wing, people to scream CENSORSHIP!!! whenever someone tells them which way the sh** is falling.

If, on the other hand, you tell them that their criticism of something was unfair, or biased, or bigoted, (again, not censoring, just saying,) they start yelling at you that you 'can't take criticism.'

Please, for the love of God, tell me you see the hypocrisy there.

And if you do, my sweet nerdlets, start to get frustrated and lash out (which is totally understandable, but I don't recommend it,) they caw triumphantly about how unreasonable and irrational these lefties are.

What is irrational is hatred. What is irrational is bigotry. What is irrational is spilling your vile hatred into the world in order to spread it like a disease.

I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll have cause to say it again in my life: if you turn the lights off, right-wing extremists sound pretty damn similar to Islamic extremists.

What's sparked this meandering exploration of extremism and bigotry and the power of words?

Well, my dear ones, four things reminded me of how downright explosive - and powerful - words and language can be this week:

  1. the tension with North Korea
  2. the biased so-called 'article'* situation in the YA bookish community
  3. the Nazi rally
  4. a combination of Sports Direct and Newsnight

*I've linked to screenshots provided by twitter user @nickyoflaherty, not the actual article. Because clicks are currency.

Wait! I hear you cry. Sports Direct and Newsnight?! Wtf Cee?!

Let me explain:

There is a looooooong history (I'm literally talking over a millennium,) of... issues... between Wales and England (and pretty much everyone else and England, to be honest.)

Due to centuries of oppression and a sense of entitlement from the general direction of England, the Welsh language was severely weakened and discriminated against.

As such, in 2011, we made a law. This law made both Welsh and English the official languages of Wales, completely and utterly equal in legal status.

So, a company - a sportswear company, for example - forbidding it's employees to speak Welsh to each other on the shop floor... welllll... such a thing would not only be raking over old wounds, it would also be illegal.

And just to top it all off, BBC's Newsnight decided to have a discussion about the Welsh language.

But Newsnight's discussion wasn't so much on language policy as on... whether the Welsh language is 'a help or a hindrance.'


This is like the cr*p the UK government spread in the Victorian period about the language lowering our intelligence and holding us back.

We didn't keep the language alive for literally over a thousand years just for some TV show to question it.

And they didn't actually invite a Welsh speaker to appear on the programme. Seriously. MAYBE INVITE THE PEOPLE IT AFFECTS THE MOST.

Yes, words mean A LOT. Don't you dare tell me they don't.

Words, alongside images and other forms of communication, shape the world we live in, and the way we perceive that world.

Someone with a vendetta may use words to place people in danger, maybe by releasing their full name to a hostile crowd and basically saying 'go get 'er!' only with words that never explicitly say that so that it can be denied to the very end.

I don't want to talk too much about that 'article'* because the author has already gotten the attention that she wanted, but I will simply state my position:

*link is to screenshots provided by twitter user @nickyoflaherty

  • I know most of the people being torn into in that 'article.' I consider many of them friends. They are good people. Anyone saying otherwise is being an a**h*le.

  • The author of the 'article' is notoriously anti-diversity and has a personal grudge against Shauna; this includes apparently being part of a campaign of targeted harassment, over the course of months.

  • I read Shauna's review when it first came out - it's an eloquent and detailed look at the representation in The Black Witch, full of valid and well thought-out points.

  • This 'article's' purpose seems to be a personal attack on Shauna and others within the online community, thinly veiled by biased rhetoric.

And last, but not least:


As far as the North Korea situation goes... surely I don't need to tell you how serious that war of words is?

Because that's, like, NUCLEAR WAR, levels of serious.

And if that doesn't worry you, or prove that words are dangerous wriggly little beasts, then there's really nothing that I can say to convince you, is there?

And Nazis? They need to be called f**king Nazis.

Giving people who shout against Jews, quote Hitler, and give Nazi salutes, any other name is offensive.

The alt-right are a bunch of Nazi thugs. I will repeat that 'til my lungs give out.


I refuse to engage people who are filled with that level of hatred in discussion. Yes, they have a right to say that sh** (although, technically, in England and Wales, they don't.)

I also have a right to not listen, and a right to say that they are Nazi b*****ds who are not worthy of my discourse.

What was my point to this whole blogpost?

Well... not entirely sure. But I think it was something to do with words. And them having power.

Basically, *gestures at cr*p I just spent a whole blog-post discussing* words are shaping our world. Right now.

They have great power. And with great power comes great responsibility (Sorry! Couldn't resist.)

Keep speaking out my nerdlets. Keep standing up and being counted. We can do this. Hatred will not win.

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  1. A lot of the stuff going on in the world right now is honestly very confusing and overwhelming to me. I find myself just avoiding social media all together because it's all I see and I get really worked up over it. But this post gave me more clarity, and in a much more supportive way. Thanks, Cee <3

    1. I wasn't sure I'd achieved much clarity! Yeah, the world is... wow... right now. But f**k it - that's what awesome people like you are for Em! ;) Thanks so much for your lovely comment - I really needed it today :) <3

  2. This was a good discussion because it laid out the many valid ways that words that promote hate, should not be celebrated. Great post!
    Tori @ In Tori Lex

  3. absolutely words have power. All the power. Almost everything starts with words. That's how we connect as a global family, for good and for evil. Ohhh the F&$#*ing Nazis. If they are hypocrites you asked, well, the whole White supremacy, especially here in the US is a BIG stinky hypocrisy. Hitler, was the biggest hypocrite cowardly POS ever so, of course his followers are. Sorry but this topic REALLY gets to me. which is also behind the issue with NK because.. Trump.. what a better example of hypocrisy and bigotry? and of course who would get us so close to a nuclear war??? and I KNOW what you mean about the Welsh language issue because people that dare to speak other languages in the US [where there isn't an "official language"] have to deal with all kinda crap too. Sometimes, nope, often, I wish I were of another species since the human race is embarrasses me so much

    1. Ok. Clearly you have strong feelings on this! No problem with that - just don't entirely know how to respond! >.<

      Basically: Nazis stink, they actually wouldn't be allowed to say some of these things in this country, and I can totally see the hypocrisy, but it worries me how many people don't.

      As far as the Welsh language goes, there's the added fact that WELSH is the native language of this country. It was suppressed (in many cases systematically,) in favour of the language of English rule. (We didn't actually have any choice about joining the UK.)

      But, language politics is mega-messy here, so I could go on (and on, and on, and...) but I won't.

      (If you get to pick what species, always be a kitty! (Or a unicorn, obv.))

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