Knowledge is Power/Literacy R.O.C.K.S.

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.

Ophelia Benson has a good point via Dan Fincke on the subject here

 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.

See: A camel with a hammer offers a tap upside the head

kassad says:

Stupid IS hurtful. And saying “it is not as hurtful as tranny, nigger, cunt,…” was not Dan point, he in fact said exactly that in the comments.

I had a friend who was verbally abused by his parents. “Stupid” was pretty much how he defined himself since as long as he could remember. We talk for hours to him, especially in high school when he started to have even worse self-esteem. He killed himself at 17 years old.
My mother was dyslexic and dyscalculic (so am I) but it wasn’t until she was an adult. As a result, she always had a low self-esteem, amplified by the fact that she was adopted and her mother was an english teacher and her father was an engineer. She barely finished high school. My father is a naval engineer, one of the youngest Navy officer there was, graduated high school with 2 years in advance. He is smart and never had any issue about it. Despite his many qualities, he is not always the most insightful man and has difficulties really understanding my mother’s issues. He is intelligent, he loves her partly because she is intelligent too and they have a lot to talk about. Where is the problem right? This is why one of the more vivid memory of my youth was the look on my mother’s face when, in a banal discussion, my father said that what my mother’s argument was stupid. It was not aggressive, not a put down, at least that is not what my father intended at all. He probably forgot about it in minutes. But the recoil from my mother, the hurt on a her face stayed with me even if I did not understand it until years later.
This word “stupid” defined how my mother saw herself in the world how she envisioned her relationships, how she raised us. It took tremendous effort to surmount the hurt it did to her.

I am sorry if I run a little long and recited my life story, but the stories of my friend and my mother are not rare. And they are not “innocuous”.

I think that the phrase about “stupid hurting more people than tranny” was ill-advised, and understandably offensive to many people. But the whole “stupid is barely offensive, look at people being called cunts! Now that is suffering, not those hurt fee-fees from cry-babies that are simply called stupid” hit something in me. I feel like people dismissing this word are privileged not to have their intelligence (and thus their personal worth in some cases) questioned or taught that they never will have anything of value to contribute, ever.

Anyway, sorry for the long post.

Thank you Kassad for that poignant comment over at OB’s place. These innocuous people ought to spend a day in a literacy centre for adults who are proudly trying to pick up the pieces of  the times when they were put down by those who considered themselves superior. They would think twice about mocking people or using the Internet or twitter to continually hound people and slag them off because they do not have their credentials. They feign concern for people, but are just wolves in sheep clothing. Knowledge is power, so why don’t the powerful spend some time catering for those whom thy consider not as intelligent as themselves. They too could learn a thing or two from the uneducated classes.


Maeve Binchy R.I.P.

Maeve Binchy – a well loved Irish writer has just passed away. She is well noted for the novel Circle of Friends, which was made into a very successful film. Commiserations to her family. Maeve had the following to say at her website.

Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin


Welcome to my website, whether you’re a first-time visitor or returning for another look.

Minding Frankie is now out in the US; thank you to everyone who has reviewed it in the press or in blogs, to all of you who have written in to say you’ve enjoyed it; and of course thank you to every one of you who have bought it.

It was Mother’s Day in the US and to celebrate, my American publishers made one of my short stories available as a download. To find it click here: short story at Knopf.

That download is only available in the US, so for all my readers all over the world we’ve put a new short story right here on this website. Click here: Short Story.

And I’ve done a couple of little video interviews about Minding Frankie that you can find if you go here: YouTube.

My health isn’t so good these days and I can’t travel around to meet people the way I used to. But I’m always delighted to hear from readers, even if it takes me a while to reply. So I hope all my American readers enjoy the new book.

Best wishes,


I made a comment. It has gone into moderation. Here it is just in case.

Author Maeve Binchy dies aged 7200:55am on 31 Jul 2012I wish to send condolences to writer Gordon Snell and extended family on sad loss of iconic Irish writer Maeve Binchy R.I.P.. She’ll also be a great loss to Irish people. There is not a book-shop in Dublin that doesn’t sell her novels. The latter are also on the Irish Leaving Certificate curriculum every year. The most popular one of course, being “Circle of Friends.” Au-revoir, Maeve Binchy!

BBC News – Author Maeve Binchy dies aged 72

Blimey, I went and called Maeve B an ‘iconoclastic’ figure as opposed to an ‘iconic’ figure, that surely wouldn’t do to be blasphemous at all.

Always looking outside a rainy Sacred Heart dormitory window

I spent most of my institutional life in Goldenbridge after the age of nine always looking outside a tall top rainy Sacred Heart wet-the-bed dormitory window on Sunday afternoons. I watched all the visitors as they came up the long avenue with brown paper parcels under their arms or netted bags filled with fruit, comics or little bags of sweets. I always cried into the sleeve of my jumper, as I knew there was never going to be a visitor calling for me. There was one particular man who always stood out in my mind because of his sheer bravery and determination in wending his way slowly up the long avenue despite grave difficulty. I watched him like a hawk as he dragged himself and his bad leg intermittently at a snails pace with the aid of a crutch. He always had such a big brown paper parcel under his arm. He visited his one and only daughter. I know that she loved him to bits. He was so kind to her. His daughter shared her oranges and apples afterwards with the children. He had her trained to be kind to other institutional children. She was one child, I remember, who had a contented look on her face – which cannot be said for the rest of the children.

To this day, I have a recurrent memory of always looking outside the top Sacred Heart window and it overwhelms me with sadness. I’ve also never understood why the Boyne family who started taking me out before my communion at the age of six or thereabouts never tried to keep in contact after I was sent back for good to Goldenbridge. I know that I was not related to them, but surely to goodness, they must have known what it must have done psychologically to have just walked away forever from a child who had already been bereft of a normal family? Where was their conscience in all of this at all, I often ask myself bewilderingly? To this day when I find myself looking outside at others having all the fun, friendship and care and warmth I know well not to expect anything. I instantaneously get flashbacks and am transported back to the time when it was never any different. It’s horses for courses. I was never wanted then and don’t expect to be wanted now. I found out as an adult that I’d been found wandering aimlessly in O’Connell St. and was swiftly recalled and sent back to the institution. It would have been somewhat healing if the Boyne family had come up to visit me. I would have had no reason to look out the window and cry into my sleeve, but instead, perhaps have looked out in anticipation at when somebody was to arrive for me. It would have made a difference. I would not have felt so utterly forlorn and isolated.

My uncle who died recently was one person who made up to me for that particular loss I felt as a child and of which had serious repercussions to my adult emotional and psychological persona. He healed a wound. If only he’d known that he’d a niece looking out a window of a strange, friendless, cold; dark; dank; miserable; loveless institution, I know that he would have rescued me and brought me to a relation to stay with and made sure I was cared for and loved.

Alas, there are countless people who run miles away from survivors of industrial *schools* because they see us as very needy people. I’m no exception. I think they have every right to feel that way as they’re not beholden to us in any way. They’re not related to us in any way. They have no duty of care towards us in the slightest bit. We shouldn’t expect strangers in the world to understand our predicament, as they’ve never had to undergo similar institutional experiences in their own childhoods. I envy people who never get flashbacks of always looking outside a top rainy Sacred Heart dormitory window and feeling that the world is a cold, friendless unloving place. The world shunned us as children. Now, as adults, we’re shunned because we display all the hallmarks of past neediness and loneliness. It takes extraordinary people to care for survivors of industrial *schools* with extraordinary needs. They’re very few and far between in this world. I miss my uncle so much because he was one person, who, by his mere physical presence was able to empathise and take away the gnawing, anguishing pain, which was a legacy of growing up in Goldenbridge.

I used to belong to an eating house that was going to develop a friendship thing for people such as me who were in industrial *schools* or people who had no family support system that they could relate to emotionally. The committee had in mind to link us up with very special empathetic people who would make friends with us and invite us for tea or even possibly to their houses when they got to know us more, and make us feel welcome and hopefully make up for all the loss we felt in our past lives. Alas – it never materalised. I was so eager to be a part of it, as the world can sometimes be a very cruel place. It has no time for people who are psychologically / emotionally damaged because of past experiences.

Nasturtiums / Mama

I was reminded of my mother at the time of taking this photo of nasturtiums in the communal garden. You see, we both went on a long Bank holiday weekend in August to Bournemouth. We stayed in a very quaint posh guesthouse and were served nasturtiums in our salads. They were very tasty.

Dún Laoghaire: Birds and Rocks

This is a young seagull. When it is old enough it will wear a black face-mask in summer and shed it in winter. The two of us were sharing same concrete walk that led very close to the sea. In fact it was too close for comfort. While it was eyeing me carefully when getting nearer, I had to be very mindful of vulnerable close proximity to the sea.

There were a lot of very young seagulls. I don’t know if this is the same breed as the one up above, who has a more bulky beak?

Here is the older seagull with the brown face-mask. I think it must  get black when it’s older.

I don’t know the breed of brown birds. Heron? I took photo using lens, as they were way out to sea.

Here are some more of the same brown birds who remind me of the herons I saw at St. Stephen’s Green. They appear to keep to the water’s edge and as far away from humans as possible.

I adore taking photos of birds on rocks as well.

Some more

And more

And yet again.

Dún Laoghaire: Ferries and boats out at sea

Irish Ferries: By Jove: I got the one and only prized photo I’d initially planned on getting upon first venturing out to Dún Laoghaire. I didn’t even know that is was an Irish Ferry boat when I zoomed in on the restricted inbuilt Leica lens of the Panasonic Lumix, as there were a lot of boats out at sea. I just took pot luck. So it wasn’t until I’d downloaded the photos that I made the discovery. I would have gone to the departure area had I known there was a ferry heading off for Hollyhead, Wales. I’m absolutely thrilled with this gem of a photo. So, if there are passengers out there in the bhlogosphere who sailed to Holyhead from Dún Laoghaire in the late afternoon of Saturday 28th, July 2012, this is surely the ferry you would have boarded. Click to view enlarged photo. There is a sea-gull hovering overhead. Given that’s it’s the Olympic season in Britain, I’d surmise that the ferry was full to capacity.

I really like this rainbow and boat combined photo as well. The rainbow is really huge. It wasn’t there for long.

Wow – I just spotted another P&O Ferry Liner. This photo with the house and lighthouse and the lone fisherman silhouette is really dreamy looking.

This is another one of a yacht. It says: I must send them this photo, as they were sailing way out when this photo was taken on 28th July, 2012 in the late afternoon.

I wonder if this speedboat is used for ski-boarding purposes. (I saw a brilliant photo of my Canadian cousin – now domiciled in Houston, Texas ski-boarding in Hawii. It appears exhilarating.)

This boat is self explanatory. I noted when standing near the water’s edge and risking taking some photos that it could be so easy to slip into the water, as the concrete slabs were very slippery. I was ever mindful all the time as the motion of the water could make one sway very quickly when one is concentrating on the camera work.

This is such a relaxing view of the yachts at the harbour.

This SEATRUCK must be carrying goods off to Great Britain.

What a hive of activity at the harbour with people enjoying themselves at a hobby and work they clearly enjoy.

Dún Laoghaire

I had some errands to do and was planning on going into Rathmines. However, I took a detour and got the 46a bus going towards Dún Laoghaire. Sometimes I get these vagaries and just go with the flow. I would have gone further out to Bray, but the forecast wasn’t looking all that good, so I opted for the former. I can see why a relative of mine upped stocks in the past and moved to nearby Sandycove. It’s so scenic. I would recommend it to tourists who come to Dublin to visit here. It’s far more interesting than being stuck in a hotel in the centre of the city. Besides, it’s three-quarters of an hour or less into town. Buses are regular.

Court house clock-tower. I’m partial to clock-towers. Think Rathmines! Not court-houses though – that’s for definite. I had my first experience in a court like this one when I was a mere toddler of just half a decade old was under the jurisdiction of one till I was over a decade and a half.

The last time I went to DL I’d noticed that the people appeared by far taller and slender than say a lot of people from the inner city. The same thing hit me again. It must have something to do with the healthy environment. I know that patients with TB would have recuperated in this sea-setting.  See British crown on top and also the three gold inlaid images of Queen Victoria who once landed at Kingstown as Dún Laoghaire was otherwise known during her reign.

Hartley’s on the promenade would be a nice spot to have – either homemade soup with home-made bread, or afternoon tea comprising of scones topped with cream and homemade Wexford strawberry with friends, whilst simultaneously soaking up view of yachts anchored or Irish ferries sailing from the harbor to and from Hollyhead, Wales.

There were tourists everywhere looking so relaxed and happy. Blimey, I’ll have to get out of the habit of waiting for people to pass by before taking photos, as it looks as though the place is empty, when that’s far from being the truth. I can see a crane in the photo, I thought all had left the country after the boom collapsed.

Some survivors of Goldenbridge were very lucky to have been taken out by people who came from this beautiful place, but they weren’t all that fussed, as they had originated from the inner city and felt so isolated when they came to this heavenly spot. I would have swopped places with them any day. My mother and uncles all loved the sea and I’m exactly the same. It’s the utter freedom I adore. I wish I was a bird sometimes.

Entrepreneurial Uncle Ned

An uncle of mine (now deceased) had a bungalow built for each of his five children. I see now that one of them is up for sale for just under E400,000, which is not bad, given the very strategic lucrative location. I can’t see the church buying it now, after all the child abuse scandals, the coffers must be emptying fast, well, those of whom haven’t stashed it away in secret trusts.


Large 6 bedroom bungalow which was formerly used as a Bed and Breakfast. It is situated overlooking the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock. Within easy reach of Claremorris, Kiltimagh and Ballyhaunis and seven miles from secondary schools. Knock National school is 50 yards away and the property is close to Knock International Hotel.
Accommodation consists of 6 ensuite bedrooms, a large bathroom and two cloakrooms, 2 sitting rooms, reception/dining area, large kitchen, utility room, hot press, storage presses and intergral garage. There is a large garden surrounding the bungalow and it is approached by a private driveway with ample parking.
It is an archectural designed house by Sean Taylor of Castlebar. Aluminium windows, oil fired central heating.

The bungalow for sale is situated right in the heart of Knock opposite the basilica and has its own large private drive-way. All five bungalows are similar in appearance, and size and were built on a large piece of land that the church wanted to purchase from him for millions upon millions during the Celtic tiger era. I remember being told that he’d planned to go into a bigger hotel franchise with an established hotelier, or failing that a large supermarket in Galway. I think he even had an idea of building a hotel at Fairfield.

The idea being that they would act as bed & breakfast over-flow for nearby the small one-storied hotel/motel for pilgrims to Knock, and added revenue for his children. One large hotel would not have sufficed with a large family to have to share.

It is surely telling of the times we are living in with respect of the passing on of one who kept most of the family together, and the Celtic tiger and religious hold on people. I expect the next thing to go will be the row of shops and cafe, that was additional to the hotel and bungalows. At least one of them inherited a farm of land on the maternal side.

My uncle Ned was very entrepreneurial and a self-made man. Mind you, he’d been given the land and help by his own father who was a very shrewd man, having honed his skills as an officer in the British army for nigh on 25 years. There were no flies on either of them. The pilgrims to Knock were rich pickings and he became a multi-millionaire in times when the majority of the inhabitants in Ireland and indeed Knock were very poor. My other uncle who recently passed away said that he got his business acumen from the Kavanagh clan. I’m beginning to think it is an end of an era. His children travelled the world every Winter for a couple of months since they were toddlers and wanted for nothing. I know that they worked hard as children in the mini Knock outlets. I know that they were the envy of the town with all the glamour and wealth. There was a rumour that a huge casket of sovereigns belonging to my great-grandmother was supposed to have set him up in Knock. The sovereigns would have been found in the attic after the owner had died. It’s rather an amusing story. Every dog must have its day.

It’s rather ironic that for forty years my uncle dealt with the same rosary bead company that the religious in Goldenbridge had a contract. So, in essence, he could have been selling rosary beads of a niece of his that he never knew existed. I actually remember going on a visitation with children from Goldenbridge when I was very young. I never was selected for outings, but for some odd reason went to Knock.

Enniscorthy now

Here is modern day Enniscorthy H/t Philippe Stoop

I love this picture of Vinegar Hill. There is a panoramic view to be had of Enniscorthy and its environs on a fine day here.

Before moving to Dublin I stayed in accommodation here for a couple of months. See window where red car is stationed. One can see Vinegar Hill right behind it. This area is steeped in Irish national history. Enniscorthy has very steep hills and to-ing and fro-ing about one’s daily business was equivalent to time spent in a gym. I would recommend one nearby road as a testing ground for those wanting to learn a hill-start in driving, as it would be the same as climbing up a straight wall. Most definitely not for those who’re afraid of revving cars, or who’re inclined towards shying away from those difficult hand-break starts.