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.
May we have more art please?