Another fascinating week of reading the wildly different views of those who feel the need to express them in a public arena, and yes that I suppose includes me. The thing that is most striking is the open venomous undertones to the comments made and it got me asking myself ‘is this level of intolerance and open dislike new or are we just seeing the conversations that previously took place in private becoming more public’. Let’s be honest all this politically correct stuff has been for public consumption only, people have always expressed their more honest views and opinions in the company of like minded people and usually in the privacy of their own homes. However the advent of the internet has taken the lid off this particular Pandora’s box, the genie is out and no-one quite knows how to catch it again. So the big question is how do we deal with this situation? There are many options including complete censorship of all social media platforms and I would be happy to argue that there is a case for considering that course of action. Then again I would equally argue that people have a right to freedom of speech, so there lies the conundrum- Freedom of speech vs Politically correct content of speech!
I guess the basis of all of this lies in deciding WHO has the overall right to deem what is right or wrong. This week sees Donald Trump ban some media outlets from his white house press statements. Now do we decide that he is right to do this and that the banned media sources are not trustworthy because they challenge his statements or put forward ‘alternative facts’. Or do we take the view that the others will report what he wants them to report rather than challenge it in order to ‘curry’ favour with him so they can be at these meetings.. Does this mean that they are willing to leave their reputation in question by just reporting what they are told whether it is right or wrong. So can we trust any of the media outlets – highly doubtful.
We could of course take the Chinese or North Korean approach to controlling the internet by limiting what people can access and by the state deciding what information people get access to. Do we think that this level of control is right and does it support our right to freedom of speech? We could use the internet to change the political landscape and usurp governments of other countries if we chose to – a skill we are advised that the Russians have, but do we know for sure? And again we see politicians using the media for their own satisfaction and gain. Essentially it looks like none of these approaches are really working so does it get down to a much more fundamental issue of the need to just grow a thicker skin.No, I would argue that it should really be more about accepting responsibility for what we say in the same way we have to accept responsibility for what we do. We should express our ideas, we should question what we read in the media and what our politicians say and perhaps we should start by asking what these parties are trying to gain by taking the stance they take. Should we be able to speak harshly or cruelly to people, is there any truth in the old adage ‘ cruel to be kind’.?
Tell someone a certain style of clothing doesn’t suit them or they are overweight/ fat and you are ‘shaming them’. Or are you? Could it be you are perhaps looking at their best interests, it isn’t what is said it is the intention behind it and how it is said. In other words ‘the context’ Many of the media providers these days remove the context around incidents and events.
This week we have also seen the changing fortunes of Milo Yiannopoulos – a self declared provocateur, nothing wrong with being a provocateur; sometimes we need a prod to make us sit up and take notice of what is going on, doesn’t mean you have to agree or disagree with the provocative point. Much though I feel sorry that Mr Yiannopoulos should find himself in this position, clearly there have been those who have relished this change in his fortunes as they clamour like maggots on a dead carcass to claim they had a part to play in his supposed demise – take care people, somewhere, someone will be out there just awaiting their chance to give you the same treatment !’ He who casts a stone etc’ or if you prefer ‘ are you living in a glass house’? If we had issue with what Mr Yiannopoulos allegedly implied 4 years ago then we should have dealt with it at the time or is this a case of ‘it’s OK to make these statements if you are not in a position of influence, but not when you are’ Double standards people, double standards!! It is also interesting that once again the common feature of ‘ not identifying sources’ arises. A person should always be able to identify a source or we should rightly question the authenticity of the information.
We have this army of loud mouthed, opinionated people who would argue that they are the voice of reason, they are the people who have the interests of everyone else at heart – well I’m sorry but you certainly don’t have my interests at heart and to be honest I am glad about that. Most of you do not come across as particularly nice people and seem to only really have your own interests at heart. Or probably more to the point, you are looking at how outrageous you need to be to increase your followers so you can rake in the money – the usual root of all evils!! If that means ‘ being creative/ economic with the truth’ then so be it. A typical example of this is where we have transgender people telling us what females want – how can they? Their experience of being a female is completely different to that of someone who is non transgender female. Really ladies perhaps the question should be why women are letting another sexuality decide what they want AGAIN!
We are making the world a very confusing place for our children and really I fear for them, the social boundaries which have always been challenged are falling and with them goes the safety of civilisation. Why did we have Brexit, Trump, Dictators , War mongers, the far Right/ the far Left- I don’t believe we have far to look. Look at the internet and the disdain with which people treat others and perhaps you will be nearer to finding the answer. With so many self serving individuals at large what more could you expect.
But take care people, history can teach us what happened the last time people became this vitriolic in nature.