I saw this in a new twitter followers blog and liked it very much. Sadly though the sentence can be read in a different light as well. You know, even though knowledge is power there are plenty of over-humans out there whom it appears have super knowledge because they apparently have their super-human heads stuck in books all day. Consequently, they come across as probably being the ones who use that stored-up knowledge as a weapon to bash up some under-humans whom they feel very strongly to be less brainy. Twitter, blogs and facebook are awash with examples of these condescending Übermensch. They have the knowledge so that means they get to have the power. They use language as a weapon to abuse people all the time.
July 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm Ophelia Benson
Dan Fincke has a good point in comments on his own post about namecalling on blogs (or on his blog, which comes to the same thing). It’s a point that I probably ought to do a better job of keeping in mind.
The post says don’t call people demeaning names, and says why. (It’s obvious why, of course, but having it spelled out is useful.)
Words like these use emotional violence to coerce people with the aim of driving them into submission. These words aim to do that by demeaning them so that they feel worthless and hated. These words aim to irrationally gain leverage in an argument by making someone feel intellectually insecure and interpersonally rejected if they do not concede the other person’s debating point. These words try to drive people away with hostility. And, finally, these words try to coerce moral agreement by making the implicit threat of stigmatization and ostracism of any who differ.
A commenter makes a distinction between kinds of namecalling.
Stupid, jerk and asshole though? These are NOT minority-bashing words that silence a marginalized group of people. They’re just offensive words (and even there, jerk and stupid are just mildly offensive, IMO). Sometimes the actions and words of others deserve to be called out for being stupid. Often, people act in certain ways that are indeed undesirable and they deserve the label of jerk.
Dan rejects the distinction.
Stupid is a serious word that torments more people than tranny does.
And no, it’s not about “playing nice”, it’s about having mature, civil discussions like adults, not like playground bullies.
“Stupid” is just not a word that smart people have ruining their self-esteem from the time they’re little kids.
And even yet, it is a false and belittling word that is counterproductive to constructive discourse. Calling someone stupid tempts them to either slink away in shame or to fight back with equal emotional abuse.
As I said – he has a point.
And another point.
I’m pretty sure, based on my knowledge of human psychology and what other less educated people have indicated to me, that when you belittle other people as stupid those who feel intellectually unequal to you are being made insecure and nervous that you would do the same thing to [them]. It’s bad enough they feel intimidated to begin with. It’s insensitive of you to carelessly use words that relate to their insecurity. They are likely to identify with whomever you’re denigrating and feel at least a twinge of anxiety over it. “Check your privilege” (as the kids like to say).
Yes – that is undeniably a point.
The above-humans as in the above and over other humans have warped superiority complexes. They must not be knowledgeable enough though, to let it sink in that their own brain power is all in the head, and with the press of a button or the onset of sudden dementia of sorts such as alzheimers the brain power could be swiped away. So fragile is the mind and so small are those who think they’re super-human.
There were millions of people slaughtered and burned in gas-chambers because they were classed as inferior by some so called super-humans. So, one must never forget what superior minded people are capable of doing to vulnerable humans. For example, if they had ancestors who suffered because they were considered nonentities they should be the last people in the world to have high notions about themselves that causes them to look down on others because they feel they’re not as intelligent as themselves. They should be the last ones to keep implying on the Internet that they’re of a higher order and as a consequence therefore have the god-given right to further intimate and persecute perceived underlings.. Or, even to think that they are so uppity arrogant, snobbish, hoity-toity, snooty, pretentious, bumptious, full of oneself, puffed up, conceited, pompous, self-assertive, overbearing, cocky, cocksure, impertinent, haughty, self-important, superior, presumptuous, overweening, uppish, high and mighty; too big for one’s britches/boots that folk should have more time for them as they’re, well, doncha know, so educated and can express themselves via their writing, and sure…where would the blogosphere world be without their alluringly tantalizingly provocative, arousing, seductive, suggestive, inviting, titillating; sensuous, slinky, coquettish, amorous, flirtatious; come-hither, decorous, come-read-me instantly super-human minds gracing the Internet. They are the Internet, god damn it. Not to be linked with the under-educated boring classes that drive their fans nuts. They’re the twitter chattering bohemians classes and there is nobody to compare with their wealth of meta Wikipedia type of knowledge. They’re the ones who are so privileged that they get to use words like illiterate or stupid as a form of irony or provocatively. They create inner circles, and anyone not considered intellectual enough is not wanted within these Über circles. The nouveau -riche intellectual elitists should remember their innings, as I’m sure it’s not that very long ago that that they came from very plain simple uneducated people with little or no literacy skills? See how intelligent they are – that they have to form inner circles in order to protect themselves from inferior untermenchen. Just saying…knowledge is power.
The comments are especially revealing and well worth reading.