JHVH or “Jehovah” was once a kind of J-word: “Religiously observant Jews and those who follow conservative Jewish traditions do not pronounce יהוה, nor do they read aloud transliterated forms such as Yahweh; instead the word is substituted with a different term, whether used to address or to refer to the God of Israel.” This aura of the forbidden, around the word, gave it a power it wouldn’t otherwise have as a mere sequence of sound waves or marks on papyrus or in clay. And so, too, with “nigger,” the N-word, the only word I can think of that is considered as taboo. The word “nigger” is now more powerful than it’s been in centuries. Is that what we want?
Or is that just the era we’re stuck in?
Read the linked article in the (consistently propagandistic) Guardian. An interviewer at a Bookchat Festival in Australia has gotten in trouble for uttering the word “nigger,” (twice! laugh) in quoting lines, from a book by the (shitty) writer Paul Beatty, while interviewing Beatty. Beatty wrote the word “nigger” in the book being cited, but the interviewer isn’t allowed to utter the word while citing the book.
We see in this the outlines of an emergent Religion, no? The magical thinking, the violent proscriptions, the self-advertizing piety of the proscriptions’ adherents: all there. A Religion for morons; some of the morons will be the real thing but quite a few (if not most) will feign the condition in order to fit in. To get ahead and avoid crucifixion.
I’m “Black”. Call me a nigger if you like. It means nothing to me; it tells me nothing about myself (whether or not it provides some info about you). If we all called each other “nigger,” all the time, the word would lose every vestige of its phony potency in a month.
But we can’t have that, now, can we?
PS Just went to log into my email and was confronted with this sinister message from my email provider… and while this isn’t, strictly speaking, thematically relevant to the post above, there is a connection, via Orwell (the O-word of the post’s title):
Yahoo is now part of “Oath”
Yahoo is now part of “Oath” and a member of the Verizon family of companies. Beginning 18 September 2017, we plan to share some user information within our new family.
What a positively horripilating use of language.