Haruki Murakami

Linked, Writing

Haruki Murakami answers: Is the pen mightier than the sword?

I’m taken aback by how straightforward this question is. Is the pen mightier than the sword? I want to say of course it is, but nowadays it’s hard to say. Aside from terrorist attacks, you get backlash from the internet as well. You have to be mindful when you’re writing something.

I keep in mind to “not have the pen get too mighty” when I write. I choose my words so the least amount of people get hurt, but that’s also hard to achieve. No matter what is written, there is a chance of someone getting hurt or offending someone. Keeping all that in mind, I try as much as I can to write something that will not hurt anyone. This is a moral every writer should follow.

But at the same time, when you need to fight a battle, you also need to reserve energy to be able to fight. Something like what you use to tighten your stomach. But that’s only when you really need to. If you recklessly make the pen mightier than the sword, you’re putting yourself in danger. That’s my personal opinion. Some may think otherwise.

–Haruki Murakami, from "The Best of Haruki Murakami's Advice Column" on Vulture.

Words to write by. I didn't think I could be more of a fan of Murakami, and yet here I am.

One of the things that has always bugged me about people who rage against "political correctness" is that it smacks of callousness. Arguments over language choice, especially as it relates to marginalized groups, often have two sides: one arguing for the reduction of harm, and the other arguing for the ability to say whatever they want without consequence.

I just can't see the latter as anything other than an unwillingness to be good to other people because it's inconvenient. And that doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever.