C’eci ne’st pas une Pipe

Is what a writer writes really real?

I have written words, can you hit someone over the head with them? Certainly not! Words are entertainment. They may talk about important or trivial issues, but words themselves are not harmful.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me. That is my choice.

There is an argument that “a word can harm me” but this is not true. This is manipulative. To be harmed by physical violence is sometimes unavoidable and tragic. But to be harmed by words is a choice. I choose how to receive words, by understanding where they come from and what they are saying without mapping my own aggression on them.

Is the word gun a harmful word? Should it be banned? What about the word pipe. Pipe has many meanings. A pipe can be used to beat someone over the head, and to some this makes the word pipe dangerous. A pipe can take delicious orange juice from a factory and put it into a bottle, and some say this is delectable. It’s the same word.

We must never let people burn books (or the modern equivalent of silencing words) just because we map our own anger onto them.

The most dangerous words are the truth, and these are always the first words to be silenced.