It’s been a while since the last post due to 50% technical difficulties (ASUS customer service to blame), 50% fall semester starting and 50% my friend visiting for the first time in the US and Austin. It was an absorbing month with plenty of novice experiences. However, I am Bach and full of intriguing ideas!
Let’s start by the tackling the classic inquiry of political correctness motivated by the interview statement of Clint Eastwood about the “kiss-ass and pussy generation” we are living in and of course the -probably- final season of South Park. Is there such a thing in end called political correctness and how does it compare with the freedom of speech?
Tough questions and indeterminate answers. What I am suggesting here is certainly not an absolute answer, it’s rather a personal perspective shaped though all the exposure in comedy and politics, both American and Greek. Before my view I have to refer to my mother’s take on the same issue written in Greek on one of her many blogs.
As a general rule of thumb, I would proclaim that everybody is relatively okay when her/his character is not on the spot, or when the mocking is directed towards a group of people that she/he does not feel related to. This is purely psychological and well-understood. The complication nevertheless starts when our principles and values are the focus of attention.
The truth is that everyone is entitled of their opinion, whatever that is. Opinions are not criminally punishable. The fact that they can be expressed doesn’t affect the situation in reality. The idea will always be on people’s mind and we can’t do anything about it. On a side note, pertinent are two of my favorite quotes: the Dude’s and Dirty Harry’s… actually:
Thus, opinions are not really important. If psychology 101 is offering one valuable advice it’s this: stop carrying about other people’s opinion. The fact that they are verbally expressed doesn’t change the substance of the matter, which is that they continuously exist irrespective of any law and order. We can agree, disagree and agree to disagree. Debate is an interal part of the game. Freedom of speech is a right more fundamental than political correctness. Evelyn Hall (misattributed to Voltaire) didn’t say “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, as long as it is politically correct“.
Since this is established, that there is no limit on what a person has in their mind and that there is no real damage in vocally expressing it (i.e. freedom of thought <=> freedom of speech). After all how would we know the true colors of our fellow citizens? The essential difference rises when the words are put into actions. This is the place where we need to be offended and respond accordingly. When a ruling is discriminatory and prejudiced; when a politician announces her/his intent to enforce bigoted and preferential measures; when an institution is biased and intolerant; at that moment is of vital necessity people to react. Whatever your old grumpy neighbor is mumbling from their yard or an international celebrity comments on Twitter can not be filtered and is simply insignificant. Otherwise, in order to be fair and equal, similar boundaries would have to apply to an art and in particular to comedy.
This is the reason why South Park (1997- ) became so successful for this large period of time. It has encapsulated all those instances when some people place their unassumingly noble beliefs above the right of the rest to express any other-less noble. It has majestically captured the sensitivity of the general public on the trivial matters while the major ones remain largely elusive. The outcome is a never-ending sarcasm about modern society and culture. Under this angle, the show is compelling and utterly hilarious. It’s hard to point out after 250+ episodes any favorites. I would recommend the later season the better -the current one appears increasingly promising too. Apart from the main characters, namely the notorious quartet of kids Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman portrayed at the top, there is an abundance of hysterically funny figures who are there for you to explore and enjoy. Below you can also find an approximate sketch of me in the series’s style!
Finally, we just have to realize the social contact we signed comes together with the right to speak freely of our mind, be it ignorant, be it more ignorant. People hate to be told what to do, what is correct or not. Primary cause for the rise of the Trump phenomenon is exactly this nemesis to the media. The same scenario has been seen in Europe and more specifically in Greece with the Golden Dawn party in the past few years. My only hope is I haven’t offended anyone with this little article!