Celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves has been turned into a popular comedy spot on US talk show, Jimmy Kimmel Live.
The appeal of the slot comes from the ubiquity of social media. Famous faces reading the mean things written about them is cathartic. It’s a clever anti-bullying campaign.
The “mean tweets” feature also highlights how words are powerful. The author of the adage,
Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But words will never hurt me.
does not appreciate the power of words to bless or curse. Ancient cultures acknowledge the power of words, rendering sacred words taboo, eliding names into titles and coining euphemisms. Verbal pronouncements do carry weight and matter, like sticks and stones.
What reading mean tweets does is it takes the energy of a curse, and renders turns it into comedy. It essentially sucks the venom from words and spins them into gold.
This is the power of art, of story, song and poetry. The artist, the story teller, the song writer and poet, can take the venom of hatred, the agony of anger and loss and turn it into a thing that brings relief, joy and blessing.
Facebook and Twitter boast particpiation in political uprisings in Egypt and Iran, and share realtime footage of disasters unfolding in Paris and Sydney. Free university courses, YouTube tutorials on just about every subject abound, while blogs and other sharing platforms put learning and sharing into the hands of the user. Yet still information access in inequitable and one charity is seeking to address that.
This charity seeks to bring low cost technology into marginalised and developing areas, and fill it with free digital resources, to create a “Library for All”.
We believe that all children should have the chance to learn. This is why we built Library For All, a digital library for the developing world. By increasing access to books and knowledge, children will have a much better chance of learning the basics. Our goal is to increase literacy and support education in all subject areas by providing access to books through our digital library.
If words are thought, and freedom of thought and freedom of speech a human right, then as much as food and water and healthcare, human beings need access to words, ideas, stories and information to flourish.