Our modern-day internet flame wars had their root back in medieval time, when a Frenchman, defending his village, would hurl the Word of Despise, which is the Grand Double Spise, dripping with contempt and disdain, back at the barbarian chasing him, causing the horde-member to stop in his tracks, nonplussed and bewildered and momentarily disoriented at the sheer power of the Froggie’s verbal thrust, then go back to the Frenchman’s village and rape his wife and children before murdering them and pillaging the town, instead of first chasing the Frenchman into the woods and cutting off his privy parts, gouging out his eyes, disemboweling him and forcing him to eat his own entrails until he died of shock and pain. A small victory, perhaps, but still, a victory, of sorts.
Word-Brundishing, a neologism I have just coined, is a sort of portmanteau of brandishing, bandying and taking umbrage, using words. The French are so adept at it because they are so inept at actual combat. The Gauls, the mirror of the Brits, are renowned for their stupendous defeats instead of their great victories. Waterloo, Agincourt, the Maginot Line, all have entered the lexicon of metaphors for great idiotic blunders and defeats.
Of course, the Maginot Line bit was mostly bad planning: they invested a great deal of time, money and resources in developing an impenetrable defensive line, then anchored one end of it in Belgium, a country more renowned for sprouts and waffles than military prowess. The half of Belgium that isn’t French is named for the mucus with which you have to coat your glottis in order to correctly pronounce words in Phlegmish. For some context, their standing army still had horse cavalry right before WWII, but no tanks. I may not be a military man, but I’ve played me a lot of Civilization 3, and Mech Armor beats the shit out of a mounted rifleman every time.
It was like perfecting the most expensive and intricate suit of armor possible, but neglecting to wear the pants part. The Germans just went around the big hulking, useless thing and kicked French ass, while the French basically retorted with “Hey, no fair”. Bad Brudishing, that time. The Americans saved their sorry asses again, which only made them hate us more because we came out of the war even stronger and they as a former world power.
But that didn’t stop the French from eventually being one of the Big 4 in the UN, getting the bomb and throwing hissy fits that shook the NATO alliance every few years. It was because DeGaul, with that big nose of his that was so effective in political cartoons, making the French seem big and imposing, was a master of Word Brundishing and a few well-placed “Merdes” covered for the fact he had no actual balls with which to back it up.
I mean come on, there are famous defeats, like Thermopylae. 300 Spartans (like a whole platoon of Rambos, each one of which, remember from First Blood, can punch a guy’s head off with his bare hands) took on 100,000 faggy assed Persians, ninjas, freaks, mages, rogues, warriors, trolls, dwarves, elves, orcs, Heffalumps, Furbies, Wookies and a rhinoceros, held them off until the Spartans were betrayed by a hunchback, knowing they would die there, stood their ground and still damaged and held up Xerxes army long enough for the other Greek states to field an army which would eventually turn the tide of history.
The French have Agincourt, where they out-numbered the English perhaps 30-1, they ran their mouths all day and night, playing dice and betting just how badly they would kick English butt, then they took a historic ass-whipping themselves, and in response they snuck around behind the English and murdered the girlish teenage boys (portrayed by a young Christian Bale in the film) left to guard the luggage and stores. That showed ’em!
Ah, but the real reason their ass was kicked so elegantly? Henry V (with some post facto help of Shakespeare) gave perhaps the greatest example of half-time Word Brundishing ever. That’s what you can acheive when you have balls, bravery, strength, honor AND Word Brundishing. If you don’t have the former four, the last one is better than nothing.
It is wielded with differing effect and with disparate style- if your wit is to your intellect as a rapier is to a mallet, then you hit them hard and bluntly and crudely. Hey, use your strengths. But we don’t use French for mots both bon and juste for nothing. Elegantly being a real shithead is the best revenge.
The French, through the Three and Four Musketeers, also pioneered the crucial taunt and witty rejoinder whist kicking ass, which, passed down through the ages, brought us Dirty Harry’s “make my day” and various superheroes’ “pardon my knuckles” type taunting. However, remember these French “heroes” betrayed their own country just because they were buds with the Duke of Buckingham, so it wasn’t all peaches and cream.
Some people say, you don’t need to talk at all if you are good enough. If you are good enough, you don’t say shit before the big game or during, you just put your head down, use your power and talent and kick their asses. When the losing team taunts, those quiet, strong types can just point and say “Scoreboard, motherfucker”, but the thing to do here is just keep taunting them. Sure, they’re kicking your ass but they will still be more pissed off if you reel off the dozens about their mothers than you will be at losing. What the fuck do you care, you’re probably used to it, there’ nothing anyone can do to you. But they are not used to being talked to that way.
That’s the essential strength of Word Brudishment. It is the answer for any lack of other virtues or strengths- it won’t compensate for them, but its all you got, and it will do the job, which is to make the winner, who is superior to you in every measurable manner, feel less good about themselves. You, the loser, can feel victory just by virtue of the fact you’ve really pissed someone off.
Whoever it was that Mel Gibson was leading in Braveheart, the part where they were totally out matched numerically, tactically, and materially, what did they do? They mooned the English, which is a kind of physical Word Brundishing. Sure, they got shot in the ass with arrows and eventually they were all killed and dispersed and Mel got his dick chopped off and his guts torn out and burnt before him, then was drawn and quartered, but I think they made their point and it really pissed those English guy off. The tradition live on where they routinely kill each other over what they call “football matches” but are really just guys running around, not using their hands, kicking a ball aimlessly up and down the field for hours to end up in a scoreless tie (otherwise known as a “brilliant game”). The Word Brundishing going on is the only real sport going on, that’s why soccer is more known for the action in the stands than on the field. They are world class Brundishers, soccer fans are.
All the above examples are in real life, you know, that’s outside your basement where that big yellow ball shine pitilessly down on your puffy, white, purelent computer tan. These examples have little relevance to you, unless you are a sports, MMORPG or military gamer.
Which brings us to the internet flamewar, the hate email exchange, the anonymous comment that is both venomous, acerbic and patently unfair and even dishonest, but which hits its mark. Using Word Brudishment (which, in the French manner, should probably be pronounced like denoument or arondisement, with ment sounding like “Mawh”) you can hold up your end even if you are uneducated on your chosen subject, beaten on all rational debating points, over-powered by logic, statistics and even reason and physics. You can still score points with a good Brundishing.
Perhaps in future posts I’ll put up some pointers, but they abound on the net, go to any forum or comment thread where people are passionate about their subject, like politics, religion, ’80’s music or video games, Trekkies, Ron Paul lunatic, 9/11 Loose Changers, etc. Reason, tact, persuasiveness and common sense will little avail you there. Only by Brundishing with Words can you hope to dent your enemy’s armor and a good Fuck You Douchebag to the solar plexus will leave them lamely hitting you back with Godwin or something.
Just reply that the last time you fucked their mother, she presented tail with her ass so high in the air you got a nosebleed banging her furry wet gash. Always stay classy, as per the French example.
Flame on, you crazy internet.