Posts Tagged ‘Freedom of Speech’

blogging

I just made a critical error on Twitter. I came across a link to a blog article entitled “Gay Mafia in the Catholic Church” and out of curiosity, had to open it up and read it. While I won’t mention the thoughts that entered my mind as I pictured what gay mafia members would wear as their typical dress, I was somewhat intrigued to read how the gay mafia has infiltrated the Catholic church, according to the writer of this particular blog post. And that was the moment my head almost exploded.

I fully support everyone’s right to write whatever they want – but there comes a time when people really need to think hard about what they’re putting out there to the world, then kindly step away from the keyboard. Because, there is a dark side to writing, and it is ugly.

I don’t claim to be an expert writer — I don’t have the world waiting with baited breath to read every single word of wisdom I write. I am okay with that. In fact, if I did have the world waiting to read all of my literary pearls, I’d be writing every damn day, and charging a hefty fee for those who wish to read it. That’s only fair.

But, since my fan base is limited to a few folks who I know are kind enough to comment on what I write here, I make an honest effort to write as well and informatively (or entertainingly) as I possibly can. I also try to keep the spelling, grammar and punctuation errors down to a minimum so as not to unnecessarily blur the message I’m spreading (you’re welcome for that).

Back to the gay mafia post and the purpose of this one. Today’s writing tip I wish to share is this:

If you  make a series of outrageous, hate-filled, ridiculous statements and try to pass those off as “truths,” be prepared to back it up with facts, or you will just come across as a bitter, spiteful, racist, bigoted jerk with an ax to grind.

I have no problem with grinding ax posts — I’ve sharpened a few axes of my own from time to time on this blog. It’s a very therapeutic outlet and helps me put into words what I can’t speak out loud (unless I’m in my therapist’s office). It just feels good to let the bitter stuff up and out.

With speaking one’s mind, however, comes one’s moral obligation to carefully consider what one is saying before they put it down for the world to see. I’m not talking censorship, I’m talking just being conscientious enough to consider the audience who will be reading your words. How they react and perceive you will be 99% dependent on the tone, voice and language you’ve chosen to use in your posts.

newtons-third-lawIt is entirely within your right of free speech to say you oppose a particular class of people for whatever reason you FEEL they should be opposed. However, remember Newton’s law: “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Don’t be surprised, offended or baffled by the equally acrimonious reactions you get from those your writing has greatly offended.

And remember — it is your right to tell the world how disgusted you are over blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, Christians, homosexuals, hairless kittens, etc.

Just as much as it is my right to tell you how much of a racist, bigoted, hateful, spiteful, sanctimonious, holier-than-thou, bible-thumping, paranoid, sick and twisted asshole you are.

Because, freedom of speech goes both ways.

Free Speech

I hate Facebook. There, I said it. I find it boring, insipid, pedantic and self-serving.

I’ve never understood the desire to log onto Facebook every twenty minutes just to post random, vapid comments such as:

“Sitting in Starbucks, sipping a chai latte and thinking about clouds.” This brings nothing of value to the table – other than the uptick of Starbuck’s company stock.

Or better yet, posts like:

“It’s Autism Awareness Month – please repost this to your wall, indicating that you aren’t a heartless asshole who thinks children with autism are freaks and should be culled from the human population.”

Guess what? It is NOT Autism Awareness Month, it hasn’t been Autism Awareness Month in several months because it was just Autism Awareness Month six months ago when you posted this the first of twelve times. They’ve switched over to “Fact Checking Awareness Month”. If you want to repost that over and over, go ahead — it’s more educational anyways.

Unfortunately, social media sites have become the new battleground for wits, anger, angst and opinions. Facebook is no exception to the rule. When I was on Facebook years ago, I would end up in conversations like the one below, just because my smart-assed muse would end up getting the better of me:

Me: I am Christian, but I question the bible’s voracity

Bible Thumper: Why? Everything in it is true, because God wrote it.

Me: No, God did not write it, scribes wrote it. And they were probably on some really good old testament style acid during the time.

Bible Thumper: Are you saying God was a drug addict?

Me: He created the Universe in seven days. He invented the people who invented the ability to make meth. Nobody could create something so large in seven days without meth. Hence, God was a meth addict.

Bible Thumper: That sounds a bit blasphemous.

Me: It’s called “Freedom of Speech” and it’s my God-given, US Constitutional right to say it.

Bible Thumper: But you’re insulting God!

Me: Wanna move onto politics then?

Bible Thumper: I’m done with this conversation

See how much destructive fun I was having? And that’s why I left Facebook. Not because of the creative writing, but because I had too many idiot Facebook “friends” who couldn’t think beyond their close-minded, opinionated, non-fact checking minds. Like a cat playing with a mouse, I eventually grew tired of the game and just signed off.

The biggest problem with social media is obvious: some people have this over-inflated sense of self-importance. They feel that everything they do, think, feel, etc., is interesting or relevant to the world. They want the world to know they are important, so they gather tons of “friends” (whom they’ve never met and probably won’t ever meet), post about every little triviality that occurs in their less-than-adventurous life, and hope with fingers crossed that they will get 3,000 likes on the recently posted video with the caption “Bought a new waterpik – here’s me in action!”

My second problem with Facebook is the impersonalization of major life events. Divorces, marriages, relationship break ups, addictions, and even crime admissions have been posted to Facebook with such flair as:

“22 years of marriage over, finally get the bed to myself!” posts and, more tragic ones like; “RIP, buddy”.

The last one actually happened to my family. My brother passed away June 10th. Prior to his failing health, he had adamantly stressed that he did not want anyone posting anything about his death to his Facebook wall. He had children who lived in another country and he wanted all family and friends to be told about his death via telephone or email. He had been suffering from advanced liver failure and it finally caught up with him. He died a slow, agonizingly painful death and passed away on an early Tuesday morning. By 1:30 that afternoon, Facebook had 110 “RIP, buddy” comments and likes on it. And, this was how  his daughter found out her dad died. We were furious and demanded the posting was taken down. By that time, the damage had already been done. My brother’s last wishes were grossly ignored because some asshole felt it entirely appropriate to put that flippant comment out to the universe.

I value and accept others’ differing opinions and I understand everyone grieves differently. However, the concept of “Freedom of Speech” has gotten way out of hand on social media sites. I 100% support the right to post and write whatever one wishes — I do that myself all the time. However, with freedom of speech comes the responsibility to respect other people’s opinions, values, privacy, thoughts, feelings, etc. Just because it can be said, doesn’t mean it should be said. Otherwise it just makes a person look like a jerk.

That’s why I love Twitter. It forces me to say what I want to say in only 140 characters. For someone with so much to say, about things people really don’t care about, Twitter keeps me from saying too much.

Most of the time.