There is great power in naming things, but there is also violence.
A few years ago I was driving to dinner with a fellow furniture maker, and he asked me this question: “Do you consider yourself a writer or a woodworker?”
I hate this question, but I also hate looking like a wanker.
I replied, “I’m a writer who builds furniture.”
“Ah!” he said. “You said the word ‘writer’ first. So that’s more important to you?” He raised the tone of his voice at the end of the sentence like it was a question. But it wasn’t.
So I bristle a bit when people tell me what I am and what I am not. At times I build cubbyholes, but I won’t be put into one. After writing “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” in 2011, a fair number of blowhards declared that I wasn’t an anarchist. Anarchists, they explained, are explicitly…
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