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I sure get tired of this "violence is violence" type stuff -- and on a
writer's list. Where does it get anyone?
Some people seem to be using this tautology to mean "I'm calling this
behavior I don't like `violence,' so it's obviously just as
reprehensible as the things we all acknowledge as physical violence."
-- not "Even this non-physical behavior has something in common with
What are we gaining by pretending that speech is the same as physical
abuse? They both can be terribly abrasive, but why cheapen the words
involved when you could use a few more and actually point out the
characteristics and effects of the speech that you object to? Not
*later*, after reasonable people have objected that one thing is, in a
very real sense, not really another, but right then, while you're
excoriating the offending speech.
Playing fast and loose with verbal icons like that is like calling
things a Holocaust when they clearly aren't. Let's leave a few of these
icons in place, so they'll be there when we really need them, OK?
I can just hear a conversation between kids who take this "all violence
is the same" talk seriously :"Did you tell him off?" "Nah -- I just
smacked him one. What's the difference?"