We live in a time when sanitizer is more than a disinfectant, it is a self-appointed role for the judgemental.

-K-

Koba the Dread

The Pinnacle of Unpersoning

In a time of unpersoning and a culture of cancelation it may serve us well to review (or view for the first time) a bit of history. History is a broad topic, but there is one individual from the last century that is worth a closer look if you are interested in the concept of canceling somebody. Joseph Stalin took canceling to levels unheard of in our current cancel culture.

Koba the Dread by Martin Amis

Martin Amis’ Koba the Dread is essential reading for anybody who wants a crash course about the reign of Joseph Stalin. Amis’ well balanced mix of personal experience and detailed research provides the reader with an engaging book (this is not your bland high school history textbook). Koba the Dread is required reading for anybody who wants to see what one man with unchecked power is capable of when he want to cancel a person, or several million people.

-K-

Koba the Dread (2002) by Martin Amis.

The Dangers of No Filter

It’s Not Just Cigarettes

I’ve embraced many vices over the years, some more detrimental than others. When I was younger (maybe I should say young-age is a weird sliding scale eye of the beholder kind of thing) I smoked no filter Camels. I knew then as well as now that cigarettes in any form are bad, but there were a few reasons why I thought it was better to smoke no filter cigarettes, one being the environment (seriously people police your butts). Those days of no filter smokes got me thinking about a different kind of filter, one of thought and speech. It’s odd to think that we are in a time when you may worry more about filtering what you say than the possibility of cancer from a no filter cigarette.

“Camel No Filter”

Have you found yourself filtering what you say when speaking to others? Are you watching your language, wondering if your words will label or offend? Obviously there are things we should not say, and those who do say these things should be treated accordingly (that is the topic for a different time). My concern is not about those words, the ones we know are intentionally hurtful or intended to incite. Most of us don’t worry about filtering that kind of language because those words aren’t in our vocabulary. What I mean is the trend of filtering what we say for fear of offending someone’s feelings. Many people are censoring what they say or avoid certain topics of conversation for fear of being called out, called in, or possibly canceled. When we become more concerned about the context of our conversations than the content of them we are inhibiting honest communication.

Quite a bit of time has passed since my days of smoking no filter Camels. The days of the dangers of no filter cigarettes have given way to days of the dangers of no filtered speech and the question of which is more dangerous. Should we be mindful of what we say, yes. Should we not speak or purposely change our word choice out of fear, no. Yet many people are self censoring and in doing so are not being their true selves. Which is more important, polite conversation or honest communication?

-K-

In an age of unfollow, unfriend, and block unpersoning is a click of a button.

-K-

Pink Floyd and Pronouns

Some Scribbles Concerning “Us and Them”

It’s a pleasant afternoon out here in the Midwest with a glass of bourbon and The Dark Side of the Moon playing. Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them” is a sincere and understated piece concerning war. One of the aspects of the song that always resonates with me is the subtle use of pronouns to dehumanize one’s enemy (I could also go on about the use of prepositions but that’s a topic for another time). “Us and Them” shows us how easy it is to unperson those we don’t like, or those we are told not to like.

The Dark Side of the Moon

The line “…It’s a battle of words?” shows the audience that pronouns are used to dehumanize and unify. By using words such as us, them, you, and me it is easy to dehumanize the opposition, and these same words are used to create unity, a collective spirit, for those on the other side. Propaganda runs deep through the song showing it’s easy (too easy, so easy it’s kind of scary) to convince people to march and die at the whims of generals or for anybody who holds a position of power or importance.

The talking heads on the news (I use term news with serious reservations) and other various media outlets revel in throwing around labels and pronouns these days. Before you step inside to chat with the man with the gun, ask yourself who they are and who you are (more importantly who you want to be and do they want you to be somebody different)?

-K-

The Dark Side of the Moon (1973) by Pink Floyd.

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