(Italian version here)
For some reason, I cannot comment this blog post by logging in with my WordPress account, I cannot even repost it with it, so I have to just copy the link (still finding my way around this site, bear with me, humans):
In the beginning I was quite disappointed for not being able to comment (I’ll do a Facebook account sooner or later), then I developed so many things to say about it that it was better just to write a new post. I like numbers, and I like lists, so here they are:
- I haven’t read the book, Fahrenheit 451, so I can’t talk particularly about it. But a lot of humans, decent ones, humans with a value, have talked about it positively, and I’m very curious to read it myself. Either way, I like that post. I agree with it. Thoughts should be free, and so art, and speeches. And until now, no news. But what when it comes to offenses?
- Is it OK to offend someone? I understand what the writer is saying (at least I think so. Humans minds are difficult to explore because there is very little to explore): I should be free to express my opinion even if this hurts you, and the fact that you are hurt shouldn’t prevent me to express my thoughts. Yeah, I mean, sure, it would be dictatorship to say that you cannot express yourself simply because that makes me feel bad. I underline that I’m saying “express” and “opinion”, so I’m not talking about a physical attack. Just conversation. It can’t be a crime to just say what I think, isn’t it? Of course it can’t. But then I ask again, is it OK to offend someone? Got it, got it, following the logic of the article it is the offended’s fault if it (and I’m using “it” on purpose) feels, indeed, offended. But that’s not the answer to my question. Is it OK to offend someone? Is it OK if I say that black people are inferior to white people? And if I say that women should be submitted to men, staying at home, cooking and giving birth to those little monsters you call children? And if I say that white people are just a bunch of assholes trying to exploit the resources of less developed countries, like African and Arabian countries, suffocating and abusing their population, and that at the end of the day muslim terrorists are right and should win? Well, I honestly don’t think so. And just for you to not misunderstand me, I don’t think that black people are inferior to white people, that women should be submitted to men, that white people are assholes and that Muslim terrorists should win. I don’t think it is OK to offend someone, and it is because I do believe there is a difference between opinion, art and offence. It is a subtle difference, I am well aware of that, a difference which probably lots of humans won’t ever understand because their microscopic brains are not able to grasp the concept. But for an alien mind, there is a difference. And since I’m not willing to write an entire book on the matter, I’ll just say what is offence. Well, you could also check the definition on the dictionary, you know, but the dictionary will probably tell you that “to offend is the act of insulting someone” blah blah blah. It doesn’t explain the difference between it and opinion. So I’ll tell what the difference is for me: you offend someone when you are telling that person that it is bad/inferior/without value/despicable with adjectives like stupid, idiot, asshole and so on, just because of what it is (man, women, black, white, Catholic, Buddhist, whatever). I don’t think that’s OK. That’s lack of respect. That thing you humans really miss. And I also think that writing a song about rape/writing a book with gynecological information/whatever is different than telling someone that it sucks.
- I have to say that in the beginning it was very difficult for me to understand what all the fuss was about. Do we really need to do an effort to protect everyone’s feeling? Do we really have to be careful with what we say? I don’t feel the necessity of doing so. I just talk without insulting (unless there’s someone threatening the fundamental rights of others), it’s not such a great challenge. I was asking myself where such an issue could have come from. Then I remember that we were talking about humans, which go around screaming at each other and doing as much harm as they can; offending for them is everyday business. Politeness, sometimes, to not say always, is the solutions to huge amounts of problems. Politeness, respect, not-being-an-asshole-and-minding-only-your-fucking-business, all these black magic things which scare the shit out of you.
- Is the reasoning above (point 2) unshakable? Of course not, my dear human, like every reasoning in the world, probably. It has its weak points, as for example that my definition of offence is clearly subjective.
- Saying that I don’t think offence is OK doesn’t mean I think that offending people should be illegal – also borrowing the favourite book of your friend and not giving it back is not OK, indeed you are a complete piece of shit if you do something like this, but still I don’t think it should be punished as a crime – because the line of separation between offence and freedom of expression is too subjective and subtle. But the fact that it shouldn’t be illegal doesn’t mean you can demand to be free to offend people without those or other people reprimanding you for that and to not face social consequences. If you are an asshole and people treat you as such… well, sounds reasonable to me.
- And now I’m going to offend you, following my definition of offence. That is the real reason I wrote this epic. Oh yeah. Do you think we are – oh shit, Freudian slip, YOU are – sort of a hippie species, with flowers in the hair, sat with crossed legs, wrists on knees and hands in yoga position, swinging back and forth with an idiotic smile and repeating “love one another”? No. Forget about it. I’ve begun this blog saying that humans are stupid and I’m going to keep repeating it. Stupid, and inferior. And you know what? Because of that, all the previous rules go out of the window. We’re not going to be nice and caring with such miserable creatures.
Have you read the comments to that article? If you have not, please do that. Done it? OK. There are some decent comments, but such a lot of them make asteroids want to fall on your planet, I tell you. I’ve especially noticed that the gender issue has caused a hell lot of fuss, which is incredibly funny not only in itself but also because the author of the article has clearly mentioned among the examples of offence both a song about rape and Neil Gaiman, who is an extremely good human and deeply respect women at least as far as I know, and gynecological information. The last two ones usually are considered “feminist stuff”. The author has also mentioned censorship of left and right wing (feminism included in the first one), topic which also has caused quite a fuss. And he has done it on fucking purpose, he has also written it:“While these conservative complaints about the content of books is unfortunately as old as time. We’re also seeing surge in a different type.” But they haven’t noticed it, oh no, too difficult for you, your brain would melt if it attempted the venture, it would dribble through your ears and through your eyes as Chernobyl power plant’s lava, burning everything in its passage. The people joining the discussion have kept yelling at each other, in a ridiculous way as if it wasn’t enough: “that is what happens when you unleash feminists and fags”, “there, you write that a song about rape is not offensive because you’re a fucking white male”, and so on and so on. Oh dear, it’s so amusing to see how many male humans are so awfully scared about losing their control and power on female humans, and it’s so amusing to see how many female humans are always ready to consider male humans as enemies, no matter what they say, no matter what they do, they’re fucking males, that is shit.
OK, now I’m being mean. Understand me, I’ve lived years and years at close contact with you, you should know how unbearable you are; not even a saint would be patient. And I am no saint. Of no religion. But I would still be amused seeing your brain melting and dripping and burning and smoking. That’s a very nice image.
P.S. Thought that a clarification was necessary. When I write “to speak about” I don’t mean encouraging, promoting and organizing. If it comes to encouraging and organizing crimes, then I think we enter in the realm of offences which should be subjected to legal consequences. But even here the difference is terribly subtle and then again I noticed that generally, and for me as well by the way, only encouraging crimes against a determined category (especially some particular categories) is considered unsettling. There are tons of songs about homicide, generally homicide, for examples, and I’ve never heard anybody complaining about that. Or very very few. If I would write songs, or books, or whatever, I’m sure there would be a lot of violence into them. So. I guess it’s all about the “determined category” thing: race, sex, religion, sexual preferences, … It wouldn’t be a problem if discrimination wasn’t the favourite pastime of humans; then it would be a piece of art and regarded as such. BUT discrimination is the favourite pastime of humans, so you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand where the turmoil comes from.