Life is all about balance. Eat enough tasty things to make yourself happy, but little enough not to make yourself fat. Save enough money to become more wealthy and ensured, but don’t become obsessed with it and let yourself buy an occasional treat. Work hard enough, but don’t become overworked. Have belief, but also be reasonable. And so on. Today I want to talk about freedom of speech and abusing it.
The trigger for me to talk about this was a few articles in a local newspaper site about abusive advertisements. I didn’t find those advertisements abusive. One was an advertisement for a cell phone that stated three things why a phone is better than a secretary. It was a bit lame instead of being actually funny, but it wasn’t abusive. Not even to female secretaries (as it was claimed it was, because of a picture of a woman in a suit and with a pensive expression). I think if we go around saying that’s abusive, we’ll end up not being able to say a lot of things. From this I concluded that I’m all for freedom of speech.
I’m not the firs to talk about this. Violent Acres talks about overly applied political correctness and illustrates it with a story that very deeply touched me. And yes, I’m a great fan of hers and would love to get noticed by her, but I’ll link to her posts often because they stick with me (not to get noticed). I remember what I’ve read at VA’s and more often like and agree with it than not.
In my country and my life political correctness is not such an issue yet, because we’re still a pretty monotone community. Probably in time we’ll get there, though.
I could use the above mentioned story to illustrate the point that people can feel offended by anything if they want to. And if they’re confident enough and don’t want to achieve anything by being offended and needing an apology they can shrug and laugh at almost anything.
I have a suspicion that for any given text there is a person somewhere who is offended by said text. I was offended by Terry Pratchett when he did a word play on the game “Poohsticks”, which is a game I love since “Winnie-the-Pooh” by Alan Alexander Milne is my childhood favourite book. But it was a good joke and I would not let anyone forbid it, because it offends me.
It’s like with most things in life. We can be very careful and strive for not being offensive to anyone and end up not being able to talk much, or we can be open and talkative and not be offended by so much stuff. I vote for the second option.