a year ago
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You don't say? The paradox and possible extinction of freedom of speech
We have a first amendment right that allows us to say anything without limitations, yet we get impeached everyday. Isn't that fucking grand? Oops, did I scare you with that? Just relax those sphincter muscles, grab a cup of tea, and take some time to read this entire article, please? You don't have to agree with this if you don't want to, just read and think about it. My favorite comedian growing up was George Carlin and he had some things to say. His segment entitled "7 words you can't say on television" on his first HBO special was a landmark in his career that would influence me on saying whatever I wanted or needed to say. He was one of the reasons I got into writing, but more importantly, to see how to use certain for shock value because writing virtually is meant to shock people; fiction and nonfiction. And today, my generation, the people around my age who were all for freedom of speech and some who wanted to get out of the mannerism of their parents, the baby boomers who protected them, are in favor of the government to ban offensive language about minorities, and other subjects in American speech and create politically correct terms and "zones" where people are tolerated to control the way they should talk. Not to mention upgraded words to make the topic more easy and relaxing and to avoid words that are honest and realistic. The ones that have truth in them. I went to a community college here in Texas a few years back and it was, literally, a community where people can express themselves in any kind of class, or club, or movement, because that's what a community is and it's a form of self-discovery; looking for what interests you and the people you meet who have an impact on you. I went back to that college yesterday to meet with a English professor about a typical topic I was researching, along with a possible job position there or any contacts that were available. I entered and a lot of things have changed. Not just the architecture, but the people there. I saw several signs for the LGTB and The Mission outside of the cafeteria where the signs from one of the clubs said "speech zone" and I wondered what that actually meant. Is it about the gospel? The LGTB? Not only did I see a few students from each side talking about it, but there were blank stares their faces. Kind of like a Western shootout. Another thing I noticed was the cafeteria's food has changed linguistically, because since it was a community, every one from different parts of the earth had to figuratively sort out which food and beverage was the correct, appropriate cultural style for those specific people. Later on that day as I was leaving the English department, as with most long time Texans I've seen, and this is no surprise, some white jocks bothered some Mexicans, whom from what I've seen as I was walking towards the exit doors, were loud and having a few laughs and enjoying themselves and the large, muscular guy with a crew cut, and jeans, and boots and some of them wearing clothes looking all fit, walked up to them and told them to stop and "get the fuck out." I stopped several feet behind them and turned to see if it was just my imagination, but it turns out it was what I was really seeing and hearing. I saw resentment in these students and many of them had fear. It wasn't students versus professors, no kids versus adults. It was student against student. Almost manipulative as one of the Mexicans assured them they would lower their voice, but they'll stay where they are, and immediately the conversation was heated and turned verbally abrasive. It's like walking through airport security where TSA can actually pat you down in areas you're not comfortable with and telling them you're not a bother. Just down right resentment. A few seconds later, a security guard showed up and many of the students around them, minding their own business, took their phones out and waited for that one moment of a good viral hit and embarrassed to even commit to breaking up the shouting match, but know that deep down in their guts, they're powerless. I walked out to my car and I thought to myself this is my generation, who wanted to express themselves freely, and now they want to express themselves by taking away other people's privileges on what to say and not say. I kept thinking of the Missouri controversy highlights academia’s free speech struggle and how many students and professors are squeamish of exposing ideas that are considered offensive.
People are offended everyday. I'm offended everyday, especially what happened at my trip to the college and other stupid shit that's happening right now. It's the big and small stuff, but more of the small stuff because of how this modern fiasco is when it comes to social media, and how the news works now. It keeps getting worse and worse. Just like what the baby boomers have done in the past thirty to forty years, the generation Xers have taken advantage of the soften language we have to describe people, places, events, diseases, and death itself, and upgraded them further like an IOS update. Here's the breakdown on how it's paradoxical: 40% of millennials (which is a word given from the boomers) agree that the government should ban public statements from people that are considered offensive for political or entertainment purposes in public areas, such as colleges, while 58% say it's okay to say anything. One can actually think about something that is dark or offensive or make reference to something dark or offensive, but they cannot say it. So when someone says to you "That's offensive. Don't say it" you're more or less have to say that it is your opinion, which is another word the most people cannot handle or won't care for. Self-consciousness: A clear way of saying the material maybe unimportant or abusive to a person to hear. But it doesn't mean that everyone should feel like this. Being offended is meaningless. It’s an entirely subjective judgment; there is no way to verify whether something is objectively offensive or not; nothing is demonstrably offensive. We should say that we are offended, not that something IS offensive. Also, I think you can think of offensiveness is a cultural construct informed by what offends many individual people in a society. Offensive can be described when something violates a social norm within a culture enough so that people of that culture are offended by it. We can say, for example, it is offensive for a subordinate to maintain eye contact with a superior at work and have it hold as a general truth without it needing to be true in the opinions of others. Which goes back to my inspiration George Carlin who mentions the 7 dirty words which are not just ugly words, but they have a reason to exist: Those words represent the human body and the altercation of sex and overall nature of living. They are also completely neutral on their own. If we cannot say them, then why do these words exist in the first place? He was curious and being a man who took interest in the English language, George thought and fought hard to discover how certain words work and how they are changing the world; words that are fascist in a sense to control people. And today, there are petitions, and boycotting, and people being verbally abused on the internet, on campuses, and other general places Here's why free speech might be over and how we should protect it. The debate on campus speech has percolated at other colleges and universities and many incidents have occurred on what should be taken out, such as books, and movies, and even students. And it's not just at colleges, but it's everywhere. If you've been on the website Change dot org there people taking action over something they find offensive or what to be more friendly. This is one of the reasons why freedom of speech is limited because if someone wants to change something in order to make themselves and others feel better, they're taking away the rights of others who originally created a project, or an article, or basically sacrificing themselves for what they have done in order to put out a simple fact and to educate the world. We have not been properly explaining the value of pluralism and the value of free speech to those who have been disagreeing productively and are too scared to admit direct thinking. One thing that is missing within freedom of speech is respect. The respect to say whatever you want and being challenged by ideas and learn from them, not to restrict them. The discussion of ideas, regardless of it's offensive, is for the life of the mind, not to cover up. It should be explained to our current youth and our previous generation who are still living that no many how many times you see or hear something that offends you, it is important to take a moment to understand why a message, or a cartoon, or an article, or a movie is being presented and if they're still not satisfied, walking away is the option needed to avoid making threats or violence. However, if signing a petition, or telling someone not to talk about this or that subject because it offends them, then they're part of the problem: They don't care about freedom of speech, they only care about themselves and not for the sake of the rest of humanity. Shocking to say, I know, but given how much ridicule that has happened all over social media, the news, and everywhere else, it goes to show how we have come as a nation to create a first amendment right that was created in 1791, protected by the constitution are founding fathers discussed carefully, and have it polarized so many times today and in the past several decades and beyond, and how strange it is to silence others for what they really need to say. What happen to the phrase, "I don't agree with you, but I respect your opinion?"