Much like ‘Evian,’ Free Speech is 98% Filtered.
So, Freedom of Speech. It’s a funny concept. The idea that you can mouth off all you like and some part of it won’t come back to bite you in the backside. I’ve known many people to embrace this wholeheartedly, right up to the moment when I’m sighing and shaking my head and trying desperately to distance myself from the unstoppable, hysterical levels of bullshit which is falling, uninterrupted from their mouths. It’s totally fine, in my mind, to have challenge the views of society or normality, but you don’t have to force your views down the throats of others – I think I touched on that on my little Opinion Piece regarding religion.
Anyway; personally I’m a staunch supporter of Free Speech. You should be totally allowed to ‘let your freak flag fly’ and see who salutes, but I’m not a great practitioner. It’s rare I let something unedited past my lips, particularly in certain company, and when I do it has been known to cause arguments or stern silences (lets assume for the sake of argument that if it came to blows there were larger issues involved). I’ve learned that some topics are best when kept to myself and reserved for conversation with likeminded individuals.
Comfort yourself, readers, that I’m never hiding associations with zealotry or anything shady, rather than I often fly in the face of popular opinion on basic matters and that can cause problems for me: better to skim under the radar.
So, my question is; when is Free Speech truly Free?
Perhaps it’s a product of my upbringing? My decision to be open and welcoming to the ideas of others, but yet so concerned about their reception of my own. In this day and age, I feel it’s so hard to escape the feeling that someone is always watching over your shoulder and in a world where keyboard warriors exist so unchallenged, there is always the chance that one minor mistake or mistep, one brainfart on your part, can end up snowballing to be this big issue.
Recently, I was made aware of a US high school girl, who appropriated Chinese cultural clothing for her prom dress. I’ll be honest, I didn’t read the whole story: I got a paragraph or two through before I sniffed, sighed, and put it down as overreaction (sorry guys, there’s worse shit out there than a girl thinking she looks good in red and likes dragon patterns). This teenage girl was just making a fashion decision and the world went crazy.
If I had my way, and I may look into the settings for this, I’d rather not know my material was being read by you guys. The implication being that my message can cross continents in the blink of an eye and I know I’m going to piss some people off with what I write herein. Sorry, ahead of time, I’m sure you’re all lovely and righteous, but our beliefs differ and you know what? That’s completely fine! Still, knowing this could influence what I put down on the page and then the whole reason for this blog section: the unfiltered ramblings of a grass-mad yokel from the tea-states of ‘blighty’ might well go up in smoke. And I like the unfiltered part of this, hopefully some of you do too!
Reclaiming the title of this piece: censorship is (of course) rife throughout the movie industry, although I believe production companies are beginning to be more open-minded about it. This may be a problem I encounter in the near future. It is a problem I will overcome in the name of success by (of course) selling out and going by the notes they give me, but I hope to one day be in such a position (being in demand would be really nice) that I am more easily able to dictate the terms of my own content. That’s all we can ask for isn’t it? Reducing the filter we impose over ourselves until we achieve something closer to truly free speech.
Hopefully I’ve raised some salient points there as well as venting my own frustrations over having to censor myself. If there’s anyone out there in agreement with me, let’s all do our best to speak our minds for a little while, let’s see who can deal with that!