Possibly mightier, definitely handier

It’s possible that the pen is mightier than the sword. But I think we can all agree that it’s way handier. Swords are conspicuous, unwieldy; they need some basic training for proper use; also, swords are a hundred percent more likely not to be allowed on an airplane. And when it comes to administering the coup de grace, a pen is at least as effective as a sword, and maybe even more efficient, as these realistic videos clearly demonstrate.

Somebody who pulls a pen on you is not fucking around: it shows they’re resourceful, desperate, and ready to hit the really soft spots for maximum damage: the eye, the jugular vein. You get the idea. Somebody pulls a pen, it’s time to back off and parley.

If there’s a lesson here, it’s that Hollywood can weaponize anything. Oh wait, there’s another lesson. If Hollywood can weaponize it, chances are good there’s a quick-thinking jag-off in the audience who’s taking notes on how to improve the design and make a buck. Oh wait, chances are better than good: happily, some weapons traders out there have already started coming up with some ingenious and entirely gratuitous reasons for air transit security to start depriving us of the right to write in-flight.

So how long before security personnel start routinely confiscating pens and other old-timey manual writing instruments, on the off chance a passenger decides to start taking hostages at ballpoint? It may be too late already. Okay, to be fair, the pen confiscated in that story is a pen designed to look like a switchblade. But not so for this fountain-pen aficionado:

Will they let me through airport security with this pen in my pocket?

In this particular pen, the nib is integrated with the body and it looks like it would hurt quite a bit when used as a stabbing weapon. (Though, why anyone would want to use a fine pen like this as a weapon is beyond me.)

Why wouldn’t you? Hollywood can’t invent new reasons fast enough. Haven’t you been watching? Back in the good old days, Plato worried that writing is a ruse of knowledge that could ultimately deprive you of learning and memory. Now, you get to worry that writing is just a ruse until the scribbler you’re sitting next to just up and stabs you in the face. So you’ve got to ask yourself one question: how quick a shirt-pocket draw are you?

2 responses to “Possibly mightier, definitely handier

  1. academicalism

    @lectio writes:

    as I recall, the villain in 24 (season three) killed his lawyer with a pen.

    To indulge the popular stereotype, that sounds like poetic justice.

  2. It’s quite the scene – about five minutes into the season, where Bauer is just showing the first signs of withdrawal from a drug (supposedly heroin) addiction acquired while building the case to take down Salazar. The state’s attorney has a plea deal for him to sign; Salazar decides to kill his own lawyer because he ‘knows too much.’ Cue the fancy pen to the jugular. Bauer realizes – too late – what Salazar is about to do, and when they’re hauling him away, he shouts to Bauer “everything that’s about to happen is your fault, Bauer! Yours!”

    24 is one of those oft-maligned shows that I find fascinating. I wish I had more courses to take so that I could spend a reading course working on it.

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