Mind your p’s and q’s; avoid x,y and z altogether

We live in a time where a careless word. or thought, can literally ruin your life. Tom Flanagan’s recent verbal misadventure underlines just how prickly, for lack of a better word, the (figurative) environment has become for speaking with less than 100% attention to every word, especially on a ‘hot button’ topic like child pornography.

Flanagan, from all I can gather, was literally ‘confronted’ with a convoluted, multi-part question, covering at least three distinct subject areas, by a disgruntled activist of some kind. In an apparently hasty attempt at thoroughly addressing every part of the “question”, he observed that he “[had] some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures.”

The comment has been construed as everything from a libertarian argument in favour of a ‘freedom’ to watch child porn, to a characterization that it amounts to a ‘victimless’ crime. Admittedly, the latter interpretation might have been a logical inference from Flanagan’s (additional) reported remarks, but it is a huge leap to the conclusion that he was ‘endorsing’  child pornography as harmless or neutral in a societal context.

Flanagan has paid an enormous price for a few poorly-considered comments; fired from a CBC job, vilified and castigated by every social commentator of every political stripe and now a target for self-righteous venting by every F-Book slack-tivist in sight, he has become an overnight pariah.

If you needed any further evidence that a speech ‘chill’ was now firmly in place, you probably don’t need it now; there are topics that “intelligent” people will avoid entirely, except perhaps entirely in their own heads, or sound-proof rooms. Here’s just a partial list of topics that come to mind: abortion, homosexuality, Islam, aboriginal rights, global warming and ‘conservative’ ideology.

I sense our future conversations will become refreshingly controversy-free, largely because we’ll avoid entirely subjects which perhaps deserve to be talked about, but just aren’t worth the personal risk.

 

This entry was posted in Thinking out loud. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.