Saturday, 7 January 2017

"THOUGH I DISAGREE WITH WHAT YOU SAY, I DEFEND TO THE DEATH YOUR RIGHT TO SAY IT" [OPINION]



Some of the Left-wing political groups I frequent on social media are becoming quite toxic places nowadays.

Jim Davidson, an admittedly odious and offensive comedian, whom I personally can't stand, made a joke that he wishes 2016 had taken Jeremy Corbyn as well. Not particularly funny I grant you, and of course many will disagree (myself included). But neither was it gratuitous, and the venom/outrage I've seen poured out on social media, perpetuated by The Mirror's article on the subject, is just crazy. His previous crimes have nothing to do with this instance, and many just don't seem to get the hypocrisy of them calling out bigoted people in a similarly prejudiced and OTT offensive manner.

Pertinent criticism, analysis, debate, and lighthearted/satirical comments are NOT the same as just slagging off someone simply for disagreeing. I really wish more people saw the distinction. I personally have said far worse about the likes of Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Gary Barlow, Katie Hopkins, not to mention countless Tory politicians. Does that make me similar "scum"? Or am I merely expressing my opposition in a deliberately exaggerated/comic way? Should I not be allowed to? 

I for one do not want to live in a society where we're not free to make jokes. Even offensive ones. Coarse and depraved ones. Distasteful and controversial jokes, even if I personally don't like them or want to encourage them. We should not fear words, or demonise humour: it's this killjoy "politically correct" attitude of the Left that has alienated so many from our cause. It's actively contributed to this massive backlash of Right-wing sentiment we're experiencing today. You can't tell people what they can or can't find funny, and if you do, it's a step towards something far more sinister. There is a very big difference between laughing at a joke, and genuinely advocating the subject matter or harbouring malign intent towards another. It's actions and alignments that matter, not what we can or don't laugh at.

Why do so many people not see that? Freedom of speech is so, so important. Why do we see everything as black or white/right or wrong? It seems to me that's half the problem. Far too few are even prepared to try and see things from another's perspective. And though I for one undoubtedly believe Left-wing and Centre-ground politics are more decent, egalitarian and forward-thinking than those on the Right, that's not to say the Right don't occasionally make a good point too.

Seems to me we all need to start listening to one another again. Arguing back against ethics we conceive to be wrong, yes, but at least we keep the discussion going, and we keep it civil. Some things are worth fighting about, and some are not. I'm not saying don't argue back, for all your might, but let's ditch the 'tribal' warfare and crying people should be silenced when they simply say something we don't like. It's when you don't allow people a say, and argue they should be silenced that they become angry. 

And here we are today.

PS: Jim Davidson is a complete wank-goblin.

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