Books Magazine

Is This Your Pen?

By Ashleylister @ashleylister
It seems unfair for me to argue that pens are mightier than swords.  In quoting a slightly ridiculous phrase that's sullying click-bait articles across the internet at the moment, I think I need to 'check my privilege'.  Sure, I could argue that swords destroy life but it takes a pen to write a peace treaty.  I could refer to the limited damage which one sword can inflict compared to the thousands of minds which carefully chosen words can affect.  But honestly, who uses swords anymore? 
I know almost nothing about swords.  In my mind they are equated with pointy things that fall from the ceiling, a story about a boy who succeeded in life by hanging around with an old man and tugging on any stiff protrusions he happened upon, and the thing that Buffy used to kill Angel in an episode of Buffy which I'm told wasn't as sad as the one in which her mom died (I still contend that the first is more tragic because she had to kill her lover and stare into his eyes as he woke up from his murdery face wondering why she'd hurt him).
Presumably, if I were in a combat situation, and assuming I had the first clue about swordsmanship, I would be somewhat disheartened to find a Bic in my sheath.  Obviously Joe Pesci is the exception to this scenario.  Mafia psychopaths aside, swords were quite useful on the 16th century battlefield. They are somewhat overshadowed by the emergence of drones, but then my clean pants are somewhat overshadowed by drones.  Drones are the stuff of nightmares.
Without entering into the debate on whether pens are still necessary in the age of the iPad, the statement 'the keyboard is mightier than the drone' is a more fitting modern equivalent.  Both have an element of detachment and both are capable of remote harm which can dispense with the ickiness of facing those whom we insult/murder.  Words entered on a keyboard might have the illusion of power but do they have a real effect? 
Words fly across the internet and reveal the damage which the drones inflict.  We might enter horrified comments below an article.  Meanwhile, the drones continue on their cowardly missions, controlled, no doubt, by keyboard commands.  This leads me to surmise that it's not about pens or keyboards and it's not about swords or drones.  It's about inclination and humanity.  It's about that pernicious little comparative: mightier. 
Might is equivalent to power.  Power suggests imbalance.  It means winning more, having more, knowing more than the other side.  Power is wealth.  It's land, cars, trophies - in some places this includes women.  Power, as we know, corrupts. Power always diminishes the 'other'. 
Like I said, I don't really know about swords but I do know how to use a pen.  My pen is an extension of my thoughts, and capable of creating a window into my mind.  I want to use it to show you the discoveries I make, not mean observations and judgements.  Occasionally I'll slip up because I'm human.  Fortunately, as I'm not Joe Pesci, this almost certainly won't result in a fatality.
Is this your pen?Is this your pen?
On a completely unrelated topic, the image at the top is the original Cheetara from Thundercats.  I caught an episode of the new series this week.  The image below is the new Cheetara.  Isn't it a relief that she's finally had the breast implants?  I used to worry about her ability to fight Mumm-Ra with those average-sized boobs but now she can distract him easily in combat.  Thanks for the sensitive alteration animators!

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