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[personal profile] faclonwhirr
A bit of backstory: For a little over half a year now, I've been writing articles for Nerdfit.com. These basically were various rants against articles of bullshit I've seen in the world. However, as Nerdfit aligns itself more and more with nerd culture and becoming a respectable site, I've been asked to direct my posts there to less ranty, more newsish aims. This is perfectly fine with me, but, now having gotten into ranting about stuff, I'd like to keep my writing skills honed by writing up additional rants. AND SO I RETURN TO POSTING ON LIVEJOUNAL.

What currently serves as a source of ire to me is a certain turn of phrase. It wouldn't be the first time such a thing has irked me; phrases which become commonly misused or which don't really make a lot of sense in the first place have always been able to get at me in some way. This time it's a phrase which doesn't really match up with its historical roots: To extend an olive branch.

As you are probably aware, to extend an olive branch is to step forward an offer an end to a conflict. It most often involves falling on one's sword*, admitting wrongdoing, and requesting forgiveness. This, however, does not match up with the phrase's origins.

The phrase comes from the Christian Bible, specifically the story of Noah's Ark. The god of Abraham (whom I have come to refer to as "Abradeus" for short) has washed the Earth of all life, save for the inhabitants of Noah's ridiculously large ship. Having let his chosen servant stew around in boat packed with animals for over a month, and then ignoring the first few birds Noah sent out for signs of dry land, Abradeus finally allows for an olive tree to be found by a dove, which returns to Noah with an olive branch.

This is not an offering of peace. This is not a request for forgiveness. This is barely even an admission of wrongdoing--Abradeus merely states that he'll never flood the Earth again. After murdering countless humans whom he deemed evil by his own ridiculous standards, as well as many more innocent creatures, Abradeus--seemingly begrudgingly--allows for life to return to normal. "Normal" meaning "do exactly what I say whenever I say it and follow my incredibly long list of laws, most of which are insane, or else I will straight-up murder you and send you to my own special dungeon of eternal torture." Even his promise to never flood the Earth again is meaningless: The Old Testament is packed with tales of Abradeus raining death down upon those he deems unfit. Who else can we think of who felt justified in murdering all those he decided were unfit?

So yeah. Don't extend an olive branch--don't put forward a begrudging truce and imply that you'll remain just as insane and intolerable as you've always been. Just, y'know, apologize.

*This is a superior turn of phrase which basically amounts to the same thing. The "sword" being one's own harmful actions and "falling in it" meaning accepting the damage these actions have caused. To fall on one's sword is to admit one's own contributions to a conflict, which is an important part in resolving it.


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April 2011

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