Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Is The Pen Mightier?

The pen is mightier than the sword. It's a popular phrase and a metonymic adage coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 for his play Richelieu; Or the Conspirac. Though his phrasing is by far the most popular, Euripides is said to have wrote, "The Tongue is Mightier than the blade." Same meaning-different words.

Last night, or this morning, depending on when you feel three AM rests, I was wondering whether this phrase has been rendered obsolete? If the pen is truly mightier than the sword, would people not put more stock into things they read?
And, in this day and age, how can the pen be mightier than the sword when the line of fiction and reality is so skewed? Is there truth behind the word anymore? Is it even valid?

We live in a world where it is virtually impossible to trust any source. When reading an article about a certain event, one must considered who wrote it, their sex, creed, religious stand points, political position and a number of other facts. How do we decide what is a trustworthy account of an incident and what is not? Do people write unbiasedly? I would say no, emotions are too big to ignore and so, whether the writer intends to or not, parts of themselves are filtered into their work.

With the world revolving around the Internet everyone has a platform to wield the pen now. People, who fifty years ago would be considered radical, free-thinking, hippies, now have a way to reach the masses. And while the beatnik with his tie dye shirt isn't a threat to the common person, the racist, sexist, homophobes are. While some chose to spread love with the word, the majority of articles being posted to the Internet boast intolerance and hate.

Since everyone has access to the mighty pen does that diminish the importance of the written word? Every Tom, Dick and Henry can type out a blog, fancy up a website, and market their thoughts, feelings, and opinions - no matter how accurate they are, or how cruel or vindictive. It's sort of like the phrase 'too many cooks in the kitchen'. The more people cooking a meal the more diverse the meal with be, but there also runs the risk of things not turning out or someone eating something that could make them ill.

If I chose to do so, I could tell the world that there is an underground subculture of people in Canada who are working to overthrow the government and create an anarchist society. It would be a lie, but that doesn't mean people out there wouldn't believe it or donate money to help my cause via my paypal account.

It seems as though 'the people' have grown tired of 'the word' and are calling for 'the sword'. They can no longer trust 'the word'. And 'the word' isn't bringing about any results or changes. How long can you use 'the word' and not be heard before you resort to other things?

Is the sword becoming more mighty than the word? Government officials would like you to believe, no. The reason for this? They don't want 'the people' picking up the sword. How much damage can you cause sitting in your parents basement blogging about the injustices of the world? Not a hell of a lot, but if you put into the hands of the people action, then they have something to worry about.

Are the people leaning towards inflicting change as opposed to writing about how they could inflict change on the world?


Maybe people have sat by for too long being told contradictory facts, or maybe people are tired of being lied to by their government and spoon-fed half-truths. Whatever it is, the people want to take action, they want to be heard. The government isn't listening-well at least not to the words they are writing. They don't see the petitions, the books, the blogs, the written word which is supposed to be more hefty than the sword.

And what does the sword in today's society represent? Action.

Which leads to another question...what happens when the people get angry enough and toss the pen to the side? What happens when the pen is rendered useless? What happens when the fear tactics written in the paper or on the news no longer work? What happens when the people take up the sword?

Will anyone dare say the word 'revolution'?

1 comment:

Noelle Pierce said...

Yesterday, I saw this link from a friend on Facebook. And today, you use the same word. Coincidence?