calling a spade a suit of cards (harassment and abuse meta, physical violence as metaphor) (291 words)
Threats are statements designed to make someone fear for consequences if they do not act as the threatener instructs them to.
Verbal abuse is the directing of insults, accusations, and/or criticism at someone in order to display hostility towards them and make them feel like they are bad people.
Harassment is a large volume of unwelcome (e.g. abusive, threatening, or even just mundanely hostile) messages being directed at someone to overwhelm them.
All three are frequently motivated by a desire to silence or expel a person by ruining their life, as opposed to - say - deplatforming them for their toxic ideology. Deplatforming happens when activists persuade a platform to work with them. Silencing is something else.
In any case, I bring all this up because I've noticed a pattern among people who want to be accepted in social-justice-y spaces while also threatening, abusing, or harassing people in those spaces: they don't call what they did by any of those names. They call it something else. They may admit that they are trying to silence someone and explain why their target deserves to be silenced, but they'll invent some other description of the harassment, abuse, or threats they employed to do it.
I think we should be mistrustful of people who hit someone with a shovel and say, "I did nothing wrong - a spade is a suit of cards and I had good reasons to play it." I think it's rare circumstances that hitting people with a piece of metal at the end of a stick is an ethical act, and I'm suspicious of people who feel the need to call such an object a piece of cardboard when they're defending that act.
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