Friday, May 31, 2019

Causing Offence

It's been an exhausting week.  I know that, for me, it was only three working days, but they were three days too many.  I've been out of sorts all week, still tired from all the shenanigans last weekend, irritable due to a lack of sleep thanks to a recurrence of the intermittent tinnitus in my left ear, (after a two year break) and an upset stomach, (thanks to my diabetes medication) and just generally unwell.  Last night I finally got some relief from the tinnitus and consequently the closest I've had to a good night's sleep this week, but I'm plain out of inspiration for anything to post today.  It doesn't help that I've the distraction of trying to put together a new podcast (which is also getting nowhere right now).  Perhaps I should just post something controversial on Twitter - the resulting brouhaha would give me plenty of material to write about here. You know, it isn't the fact that people post stupid things on Twitter which surprises me, (anyone can talk utter shit and/or be offensive), but rather the fact that they seem surprised when other people are not only offended by, but respond to their idiocy.  Then you get a whole bunch of other people weighing in, shouting at those criticising or commenting on the original tweet, accusing them of surpressing free speech or being intolerant of other's views.

Take John Cleese and his Tweet earlier this week about London no longer feeling like 'an English city'.  Now, this is clearly problematic on several levels.  For one thing, what, exactly, is meant by the phrase 'English city'?  Surely, simply being a) a city and b) situated in England is sufficient for any city to be an English city?  Or does it require that its majority population be 'English'?  But how can we tell if they are English just by looking at them?  The colour of their skin?  The way that they dress?  Both of these things, unfortunately, are implicit in Cleese's Tweet, making it, in turn, implicitly racist.  Which is what those reacting to it were pointing out.  But then we got the (mainly) right wing idiots going on about how it is typical of the left that they can't stand people expressing opinions different to theirs and invoking 'free speech'.  Which, obviously, is nonsensical.  Nobody was stopping Cleese from expressing his opinion.  Nobody was banning the Tweet or kicking him off of social media.  Equally, though, he wasn't expressing said opinion as part of a private conversation or even in the saloon bar of a pub, (where such foolish statements are often heard).  No, he'd posted it on a public forum.  That's the point of social media - anyone can read what you've written and, equally, are entitled to comment on it.  Which what the right don't seem to grasp - in this case surely they are the ones opposing free speech by contesting the right of anyone to comment on something put deliberately into the public domain by its author.  Like I said, its been an exhausting and confusing week...

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