Freedom of speech. Clue's in the name.

It is becoming increasingly dangerous to air your personal preferences or outlook on life. Technology is making it very difficult to keep your views to yourself, especially if you post them as status updates, or list them as personal information and then allow all and sundry to view said postings. Twitter, Facebook, and I suppose MySpace and the such, are proposed to be the main culprits, though I can’t help but think that it might be the fault of the person choosing to offer their opinion to the entire world. Opinions are volatile things, they can go off at any time and don’t mind who they offend. Of course they are just opinions, so really the offended party could just suck it up and carry on, but as we’re all aware no one is expected to be a thinking, intelligent, mature, self dependant grown up anymore. It’s always someone else’s fault. Bloody other people.


Recently a man was demoted for having a point of view and expressing it on Facebook. This strikes me as somewhat ridiculous. So does his point of view, but he’s entitled to it just as much as I am to mine, and mine is often just as strong and just as based in stupidity. In this case the offending idea was that a man shouldn’t be able to marry another man, that marriage is an institution designed solely for a man and a woman. Because men and women should be the exclusive owners of shared misery, growing distance, exquisite boredom, adultery and divorce. Just as God intended. The man in question allowed the strength of his views to persuade him to put them on his Facebook page, which in itself is fine, but he also listed the name of his employer and they didn’t want to be seen as the sort of outfit that might condone kind of, well, homophobic views.

So afore mentioned employers cut his pay by 40% and changed his job from that of a managerial role, to that of an advisory capacity. Apparently, being a technologically able, religiously slanted, opinionated sort of chap is against company policy, or something, and what he did constituted a breach of the company’s code of conduct. Seems a little harsh to me, I mean he didn’t say that all gays should be burnt, or that the fiery vengeance of his God would be swift and just. He didn’t even say that an all male union was out of the question, seemingly happy as he was for civil partnerships to exist. The problem seems to be that a set of rules was handed out by the company, a set of rules that the Facebooker should have been fully aware of, and so the flagrant breaking of these rules has resulted in what the flagrant breaking of rules usually results in.

Thing is it all seems a bit silly. The employer could easily have distanced itself from the opinions of its employee, or maybe even given the world some credit and thought that its inhabitants would probably realise that the views were just that of the man, and not the machine. It seems that the subject matter is what’s made everything so very, very overblown. Religion, sexuality, freedom of speech. Never gonna get on are they. Obviously religion is wrong on this one, there’s no reason that a made up belief set based on a thin, long haired magician and his wondrous made up adventures should be able to dictate who can and can’t get married. Similarly though I can’t help but wonder why you’d want to be joined in loving partnership under the tsk tsk-ing eye of a fictional, historical David Blaine type and his old man, who apparently never much cared for the beast with two hairy backs. Or, for that matter, why you’d want to get married at all. Love, I guess, and trust and honour. Love, trust, honour, equality and openness. Not the sort of things the church is into, as far as I can gather.

There are all sorts of unjustified thoughts floating around all sorts of silly heads. Some people think Facebook has a point. Some people believe in these God and Jesus chaps, and this whole hate and segregation bag. Some folk think it’s fine to celebrate the death of a man, which it isn’t, even if he was a nasty piece of work with a bit of a melty face. Others still think you shouldn’t be allowed to voice or display these beliefs, and many more like them, because it might upset some ones delicate little apple cart. Well guess what? Tough shit. We have a few unshakable rights on this rotten ball of mud and one of them is that having a point of view is fine, and mentioning it – even on a social networking site – it also alright. It’s when you start acting negatively on your silly little idea that you’ve crossed the line. Like, if you start beating homosexuals up, or encouraging others to do so. Or if you nail someone to a massive wooden cross because they won’t reveal how they do that walking on water one. Or if you set fire to the Internet because something you’ve read made you all angry.

So grow up, basically. All of you. And me I suppose. But mostly you.

Post a Comment