Social Media Hypocrisy

I am not a good blogger. I struggle with things to write about, thinking some things trivial, and others a little too hot to handle. I consider my own life to be mildly interesting at best, and I am one who prefers to not publicly complain about too much, while I don’t want to appear like I am bragging about anything either.

Doesn’t leave too much room for conversational topics.

So here’s an update. After striking out for five months without a steady job, I am returning to full-time work. A near disaster experience yet with some positives, which takes the sour edge off. More on that later.

On the topic that has motivated me to write a blog today, a case of humble self-reflection, and self-hypocrisy.

I like to consider myself a devoted supporter of equal rights and free speech. I am a feminist. I am not religious as such and support the rights of others to choose their own religion. I believe in personal choice. I do not support bullying, trolling or victimising in the sense that one side is trying to enforce choice onto another side. All people have the right to choose for themselves, without the need to feel guilt, fear, or persecution for their choice, and with the awareness that they can only affect their choices, and not those of others.

Accept that people are different, will see life in different ways, and that these different views are just as valid as yours. You do not have to agree with them, and if you don’t, it won’t stop the world from turning.

Or so I would like to believe of myself.

“If you don’t like it, don’t read it.” I have seen this statement made many a time, and it has a ring of truth to it. If you don’t like it… and by like, I take this to mean emotionally. Not intellectually, or morally. Just emotionally.

Hmmm, morally. There’s a really grey area that I’ll just tip-toe around for now. With different cultures, countries and beliefs, what is moral/ethical can be debated eternally, because they are human concepts, not natural ones.

Anyway, on with the blog…

Then I see on Social Media a campaign to have a certain personality removed, or their thread/news-feed at least. The page is something that is personally offensive, and my initial thoughts are “Oh yeah. This needs to go.”

Then I stop. Who am I to say who stays and who goes? Just because I don’t like something?

I mentally take a step back. What exactly is wrong with this page/thread/feed/person? Apart from them being engaged and promoting something that I personally don’t agree with, there was no sign of unnecessary violence, nastiness, callousness, bullying, trolling, or other similar behaviours. They weren’t trying to invoke riots, fanaticism, extreme concepts, or behaviours. They were a role model for their fans, and a positive one.

The crime: They were living a certain lifestyle, which I found offensive.

Yet, as an actor, I could imagine that had I been brought up in a similar environment, in a similar location, I would be OK with they way they chose to live, because it was what they new, and was familiar.

Let’s put this in context. Only a short time before I saw the campaign I hinted at above, I had seen an article about a musician who had walked out and refused to play at establishments which served any form of meat based products. An extreme example of a level of “political correctness” that is fast becoming far too real, and a little larger than life. My reaction to that was “WTF? Seriously? Isn’t that just a little extreme?” You are asking a business, which has an established reputation, whom are paying you to perform, to completely change their menus selections in order to accommodate your personal preferences?

This goes back to my comments about enforcing choice on others. “If you don’t want to play at such places, then don’t book with them.” Yet apparently, the expectation was that the venue should change to accommodate the preferences, not needs, of one man. Choice is personal, and for one good reason: you cannot make anyone do anything they do not choose to do. It is the only thing a person truly has any control over because your choices are the foundation of your beliefs.

So here we are, reviewing my initial reaction to a feed, which I found emotionally offensive, yet intellectually acceptable, and the new perspective it placed in this campaign to have it removed. I felt ashamed of my initial reactions, and chastised myself by asking my partner what they thought. When they agreed with my revised opinion, I felt justified, yet further ashamed.

A campaign to shut down the feed or page of a person, living a lifestyle which may be offensive to some, but acceptable to others, seems to be an incredible waste of time. There are causes and bullies out there who really need that attention more. There are corrupt officials and politicians who really should have their laundry put out for all to see. There are people out there, taking advantage of others for personal gain, and personal gratification, and yet there is a campaign to persecute a single person living what was once a globally recognised way of life.

As I said, I do not agree with the life style the victim lives. I find it abhorrent. However, I cannot deny that what I saw does not threaten lives, or the well being of others. It is not enforcing a choice onto others. It was not callous, or malicious. The person was a respected member of their community. Clearly respected. I had, and have, no right to cast dispersions on them.

If you don’t like it, you don’t have to follow/like/tweet/read/like it.

So I didn’t.

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