Labels are kind of interesting, particularly when you meet people that insist that “labels aren’t important”. For a verbal monkey whose whole intellectual architecture is about labels, words, the statement has always amused me.
There is a demographic that claims that it is unimportant, or even detrimental, to lay claim to a label like ‘gay’ or ‘bi’ or ‘hetero’ or whatever. I get the sense that there’s more to this than the mere label – that there’s a rejection going on somewhere underneath.
In some cases, it feels like a rejection of being gay or bi, to be honest. In the quest for a hipster-like holisticism, the rejection in itself feels off, as if what is rejected is sexual orientations themselves. I am gay, and not a label. I know myself, and as with everything, things happen when you apply a word to it.
The thing becomes concrete, touchable, analysable, graspable, and limits are applied that can be explored. The unknown can only exist in relation to the known. The known is the anchor that enable thought.
The anchor is the word. The word is the label.
I am gay. Not something something.
Gay. Homosexual. Bent. A pooftah. From that I can know what it means, and how to map it, and how to figure out how it applies to me. Wordless thoughts and wordless analysis is just so much noise that make no sense. Words are important.
Words are important. For a verbal monkey words are the most important thing of all. We’ve constructed our world with words, labels, terms. We would be nothing without words. Words are what makes us unique. I love words. I don’t fear words, and I think words have power. And what are labels but words?
Like, I was thinking about being gay today. I was trying to map the outliers, and draw in the warnings of ‘here be dragons’ on the scroll depicting the continents and abysses of this ‘being gay’ thing.
In this world any kind of same-sex attraction is quickly stamped with a big ‘gay’, even though the one that is attracted might actually be attracted to the opposite sex next week. “I thought you were gay”, is the likely question a bisexual could face in that situation.
If boy meets boy, and sweet music appear, then that is gay. Not bi. Not pan. It is labelled as gay. So, words can limit, and make us lazy too. The anchor I talked about earlier can easily drag you beneath the surface and you see nothing except what’s immediately in front of you.
The power of words is to use the words and then usurp them, I think. By usurping I mean that they can be little Trojan horses into a mind; Trojan horses that can spit of a lot of little Greek soldiers that march about causing a big fuss in the ordered world of one mind. And when the mind needs to reorient, rebuild, and reset things change.
There is a tendency to deride what is difficult and what is challenging. A writer on the net complained about “purple prose”, and this is indeed a thing to watch out for, but his understanding of purple prose was to use words that weren’t in the average vocabulary of the High School educated adult. Anything that was a challenge, that meant looking in a dictionary or trying to gauge meaning from context was this “purple prose”.
His ideal was Hemingway. I admit I’ve read very little Hemingway. I tried to read some today, but I found the prose quite dull. I realise that I’ve just committed egregious sacrilege, but there is a point to it.
Hemingway’s prose is a guide for many, and what they latch onto is not the style, but the words. Then the words become the only way to write. Far too many writers have over-read Strunk & White’s guide, and a lot of their prose is banal and trite. Even freaking British writers have sometimes over-read Strunk & White, although that book deals with American English. These writers seem to fear words, seem to fear being challenging, seem to fear being abstract, and seem to fear being intellectual.
As a wannabe-intellectual something I find that to be sad.
We have continued our hibernation today, although we had Stephen over, and he beat me thoroughly on the XBox, unfortunately. Now this played pooftah have to live with a puffed up pom for a while as I’m sure he’ll brag to everyone.
Oh, and when asked about where his girl was he said: “Oh, we broke it off on Friday”. Last week they were inseparable. I don’t understand the love life of my friends. I honestly don’t. Mark just rolled his eyes at that. When talking to him over this text he does it again.
Why are me and him so different from everyone else? I don’t get it.