This phrase has always bothered me. My annoyance mostly comes from semantics. Why would you want to catch flies?
None the less, I know what this proverb means and I’m sure you do too. It doesn’t need an explanation. What it does need, is to find it’s way out of arguments.
When talking about your dreams and your goals, this could be a lovely sentiment. Go forth and be kind. That is darling. However, when in a discussion, heated or otherwise, this phrase makes me angry. It has no place.
There are two reasons I feel this way. First, I believe anger to be useful if it causes you to act. Throughout history, it’s anger that has caused people to change the world for the better, not joyful glee. No one marched for Civil Rights because they were happy with the way things were. The anger needs to be there if change can ever take place.
On a smaller scale, in an average every day disagreement, I still strongly believe that anger is necessary. Which brings me to my second issue with this phrase. Silencing your enemy. Okay “Enemy” might not be the right word but the person you are arguing with.
The overall problem I have with this and pretty much any phrase or person that tries to “Kind you down,” is that they are A) Making your anger/pain a bad thing that should be quelled and B) It is made to SEEM as if “Speaking nicely” will put you both on equal footing when in fact, the FORCING of the “Nice” places one above the other because they have now controlled your tone.
This is unacceptable in discussion.
I can’t help but think of a very specific quote when I hear this proverb spouted, “In order for non-violence to work, your opponent must have a conscience.”by Stokely Carmichael. (Thank you to basedgoth93 for this quote)
No, we aren’t talking about “Violence” per se. Except, we are. I hate that people don’t see words as “Violence.” WORDS ARE VIOLENT. When someone makes you angry enough to use violent words, you should not be told to be “Nice.” Being told to be “Nice” is like telling someone they can borrow your car but only drive it in the driveway.
No one person gets to make the rules for everyone within a discussion, argument or debate.
If the rules are not mutually agreed upon BEFORE the start of the conversation, the rules are null and void.