First Response

I got my very first response to my very first post! I’ll admit it wasn’t exactly spontaneous.  It came from a close friend to whom I forwarded my first post about how language is changing around us to. She wrote:

”It depends on the person asking for or demanding free speech.  One one side you have people who wants to limit words used as roll of the tongue conversation.  Words like actually referring to a black person as the N-word.  My grandpa did this without thinking.  To him, that’s what you called a black person.  This taken too far an be exactly what you said; judged on the word not the meaning. Some words should just be off limits.  Others, like when using pronouns, for some people it doesn’t matter if you mean to misgender them or not.  They’re already angry at the world.  Anything you say will be a small bomb going off in their heads. There are also those who demand and scream for free speech, but what they really want is to spout whatever hateful bullshit they want with no consequences.”

I can not say that I disagree with any of this, and I truly appreciate her response.  This is what I’m hoping to get going here is a convergence of ideas and opinions, with out bricks being thrown at people.  I am hoping that someday people will read what is written here, and email me in response.

But, as I said, I can not disagree with the response.  In a sane and civil society, we’d just assume there was a difference between those who wanted free speech to encourage the free flowing of ideas, and those that just want to be hateful.  But we, in an attempt to become more understanding and inclusive, are become more belligerent and exclusive, and even for those who agree with the idea of having a line of decency, no one can agree on where that line is anymore.  So I am finding myself, like a lot of people do as they start to reach middle age, longing for a different time.  I’m longing for a time when the accepted idea, whether it worked in practice or not, was that if someone said something you found objectionable, the idea was to question them on it.  To figure out what was really going on in their heads, before just assuming they were a racist, sexist, bigot, or just a plain old asshole.  I miss communicating with people without literal fear of a misunderstanding.  I miss conversation where disagreement meant the possibility of a lively discussion where you either convinced the other person, or not, but you were not inclined to hate one another when it was over.

The way we communicate has changed, and not just with the advent of technology.  The way we absorb words and ideas has become increasingly toxic to our very spirit, and souls, and I’m worried that there isn’t any going back.

 

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