With Offence It's All Or Nothing. I Lean Towards All.

Well I was going to do a post about plastic surgery, botox and the like , and how it all worries me a bit – all off the back of a conversation had at work as part of my strict ‘Try To Talk About Something Interesting To Make The Day Not A Complete Waste’ policy, or TTTASITMTDNACW if you prefer.  I got home, sat down, powered up the MacBook, and then had a quick peep at Twitter, because I am very easily distracted.  Whilst skimming through the widely boring tweets, I landed upon a link to The Guardian newspaper website, on which there is an article about how the Apple iTunes store has censored the title of a book by Naomi Wolf, called ‘Vagina: A New Biography’.  
They went for the much more subtle ‘V****a: A Biography’.  The book looks at how the lowest female sexy part, once apparently sacred or something, has become cast as a threat, asking why in an “increasingly sexualised world, it is thought of as slightly shameful”.  Now then, first of all they seem to have proven that there is at least a bit of shame attached, because they starred out letters and all that, which is odd because you can get plenty of songs with the word in all its glory from the very same site.  Secondly, they must have realised their mistake, because I just checked and it’s not censored now.
Clearly, it’s hilarious.  Silly old Apple, facepalm.  I don’t know who made the decision to protect us from the word vagina, but if they still have a job, I hope they explained it as some sort of satirical prank gone awry, and that they were fortunate enough to be explaining it as such to an iDiot, because: duh.  However, it does illustrate that everyone’s offended by something.  I recently saw something about a petition going round, requesting that comedians not make jokes about rape.  Depressingly, I deem it necessary to point out that I am in no way in favour of rape, if anything I’m against it. Rape is definitely bad.  But I have also definitely laughed at jokes that contained, or inferred towards, some sort of rapeyness.  I’m also not sorry, they were funny.  I have also laughed at jokes about the dead, disabled, infants, the elderly, women, and men.  It’s an equal opportunities thing.  I suspect you have too, but if it makes you feel better, you can pretend you haven’t and that I’m a terrible human being, in fact that’s kind of nearish the point.  You might be disgusted that I find some or all of the things I listed open to comedic licence, you might be mentally listing all the ‘poor taste’ jokes you know, someone might – I suppose – find the word vagina offensive, but that’s not a good reason to lock me, or the person making the funnies, up – or to censor a word used in medicine, education and other innoccuous fields. 
In terms of spoken humour, I think anything is fair game.  I might not find mirth in what’s delivered, but someone else almost certainly will, so basically, tough shit.  I’m not saying people have no right to be upset, disgusted or in some way offended by anything – and to voice that – but that doesn’t mean you should be able to ban things, or to punish a person for saying it.  I suppose I think of Twitter and Facebook as a continuation of verbal discourse, which given the hoo-ha about privacy is probably quite naive, but there you go – and by punish, I guess I mean in a legal sense.  You can shun them, you can request that they don’t post such things on your feed, you can even write letters and petitions, but it shouldn’t result in someone being remanded in custody.  Just shouldn’t.  If the joker is consistently posting on an individuals feed and, having been told to bugger off, is not buggering off, that’s probably harassment, or bullying, or some such, and that’s a different matter.  But in essence, it’s all or nothing baby.
Bad language is another one.  So many cuss words, such little time, and so many people to decide that some of those words really hurt them, but that others are fine, or that you can’t say that word to a woman, or not in the office, or whatever.  It’s a very personal thing, again I personally like a bit of heavy swearing, not much bothers me, if anything at all.  I’m aware that in some environments it’s best not to and that there are words that especially rile people, but I also tend to lean towards the ‘so what’ and ‘gleefully winding people up with that knowledge’ side of things.  I can only speak for myself here, but isn’t it ok for people to say stuff, and for you to not like it.  I know it’s not, but… isn’t it?  Can’t you generally just shrug and go ‘nope’ and walk away, or if you don’t mind swearing tell them to fuck off.  I mean, I know you can’t but…. just, y’know, mostly…. couldn’t you?  I might be trivialising the whole thing, and it is definitely more complicated than I can be bothered to write about, but really, stuff should mostly be gotten over, including yourself.
So, yes.  Some things aren’t funny, but it’s not a crime to have a go at making jokes about them- or it shouldn’t be – at worst it shows bad taste and a lack of comic talent.  If you don’t like it, don’t listen to/watch/read it, and simply continue with your life, not liking it.  Also, swear words exist and have their place, but that place probably isn’t school, work or Nans funeral just as the coffin is lowered.  Best to use them to suggest passion or disgust, to make or strengthen a point or when you hit your thumb with a hammer, rather than while you settle the bill.  It is your right to be able to express your offence.  It is not your right to never be offended.  It’s a challenging world: engage.

And as for ‘V****a!  What the f**k, s**t, c**k, c**t, and bum was all that about.

Post a Comment