Monday, February 16, 2015

Freedom of Speech and Food For Thought

So with the release of the movie 50 Shades of Grey this weekend I've seen a few odd discussions... I've seen some HYSTERICAL critiques. This one from an Australian TV personality was brilliant.

And nobody disses the right to review something, but...

There have also been some content discussions, and THERE people get touchier. If you veer away from the “poorly acted” or “not sexy” critiques and get into the actual way BDSM is displayed, or a debate as to whether this is “romance” (or erotica)... well people can get touchy.

...Missing the point, in my opinion...
Among the discussions I've seen a lot of “Free Speech Card” calling... “Who are you to criticize? People can watch what they want and create what they want!”

And they are right. I place Free Speech very high on the list of things I value. The free flow of information is critical to a non-totalitarian society.

And everybody has the right to produce whatever they like (provided nobody gets hurt) and consumers have a right to watch, read or enjoy whatever they like.

But you know what? People are ALSO entitled to have discussions about the things put out there into the common space. Once something is put out there, it is not protected from criticism. Saying "BDSM doesn't work this way" is NOT saying "I want to censor this". It is saying “I'd like to clarify that the author didn't know what she was talking about” (which according to people far more into BDSM than I am, is the case).

In particular there was a discussion about distinguishing BDSM and abuse... Here is a post showing where 50 Shades is on the wrong side of this.

But my REAL point is just to point out that criticizing something doesn't mean an attempt to ban it. It means that a discussion and dialog is merited and whoever has posted the criticism is just trying to get the discussion going. So I hope all you fabulous people can go forward on ANY topic and consider it in that light. We will all be better off if we can talk about stuff and learn from each other.


Jan Morrison said...

Right on sistah!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Well said, Hart!

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

So true!

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

HA! I just read the article the Australian TV personality. It was brilliant.

Andrew Leon said...

My my way of saying that is this:
You have every right to be an asshole, but that doesn't make you NOT an asshole.


Just because you've made something doesn't mean it's good and just because you like something doesn't mean it's good and, yes, people have the right to make and like whatever they want to make and like, but that doesn't mean that other people are, then, required to like it and are banned from responding negatively to it (with words).

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Once it goes into the public, it's open season.

Chrys Fey said...

That's the thing about criticism...people always take it the wrong way when it's just to start a discussion. And if it's constructive criticism, people don't look at it that way.

I love how you ended your post. :) *high five*

Jay Noel said...

My social media feed has blown up. I've seen it all. Me personally, it's not my kind of thing. I do think even the mere concept of the book and movie has been a good dialog starter. It's always good to explore what we as a society think is right, wrong, or gray.

Arlee Bird said...

Every week the neighborhood puts their garbage on the curb for all the world to see, but in the end it all ends up exactly where it should be.

No need to ban the cultural garbage like 50 Shades but it's a sad commentary on our society that something like this gets so much attention when there are so many far more worthy works of literature and film art that deserve to be noticed.

Arlee Bird
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out

mshatch said...

I completely agree, Hart!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

But it made tons of dollars. Sigh. Abuse is abuse no matter if you wear a corset doing it. Is it murder if the other person is consenting?

I find that discussion over hot topics is essentially pointless. Each side only waits until the other pauses for breath and then leaps in without really giving what was said serious thought.

There is a dark underbelly to our society that is becoming more vocal and more approved culturally. Not sure where this will lead, but I doubt it will be a happy destination.

Great post. :-)

Helena said...

Of course people have the right to give their two-cents worth on a book and on a movie! The author has the right to churn out this tale and sell it to the public, and the movie makers are pretty much relying on controversy to sell tickets. As long as we all remain civil in our discussions, then we're not only exercising our right of free speech but perhaps learning from each other.

As for me--I'm relishing the funniest reactions, and that Aussie's quotation that you provided was the best.

Ted Cross said...

I believe in free speech, but common sense should have to prevail. Should a station like Fox be allowed to air? Of course. But they shouldn't be allowed to call themselves 'news' when they are clearly a propaganda channel. There should be a minimum of honesty required. We've turned into the Soviet Union, where there was no such thing as honest news, and it's hurting our society terribly.

Carol Kilgore said...

Haven't read it or seen the movie, but I totally agree about free speech. I'll stand up for that any day and every day. However, for those who may be more freer with their speech than others - they need to be able to take it when someone else speaks back. Treat others the way you'd wish to be treated, and all that.

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Mary Aalgaard said...

Well stated, Hart.
Play off the Page

M.R. R. said...

I doubt most of the people who like to scream "Free speech!" at every sign of criticism consider the irony and hypocrisy of trying to shut down any negative discussion of what they do or say.