Calling A Ceasefire In The Culture Wars

Are words weapons?

Steve QJ
ILLUMINATION

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Photo by Monstera at Pexels

Christmas 1914, five months after World War I began, British and German soldiers laid down their weapons, climbed out of their trenches, and played a game of football.

There’s no need for hyperbole here. They hadn’t been debating each other’s “right to exist” or engaging in “stochastic terrorism.” They weren’t inflicting some abstract “harm” with words and microaggressions. Until a few hours earlier, they’d been using deadly levels of regular-sized aggression in hopes that the other side would cease to exist.

And soon, they’d be right back at it.

But for ninety minutes, on the hard, wintry ground of the Western Front, they found a way to put all that aside. They shared food and pictures of their families. They sang Christmas carols and exchanged seasonal greetings. Surrounded by war, they carved out a moment of humanity with the enemy.

And as touching as this story is, it sounds like a terrible, terrifying idea to me.

Not just because of their ideological differences. Not just because of how difficult it is to pronounce words like “streichholzschächtelchen" and “Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitänsmützen.” But because they’re enemies, right?

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Steve QJ
ILLUMINATION

Race. Politics. Culture. Sometimes other things. Almost always polite. Find more at https://steveqj.substack.com