Freedom from comment and criticism?

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Explorer, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. Explorer

    Explorer He seldomly knows...

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    One of the things being asserted by some, especially in the wake of the recent marriage equality court decision here in the US, is that people should have a right to be free from others commenting on them or criticizing them.

    The assertions center on the idea that if someone engages in a form of expression which is rejected by others, then others will criticize them or comment on them.

    With that said... I was with some friends, some of whom have extensive tattoos. One of them brought up something which she had seen online, with the hastag "tatcalling."

    That led to a discussion with some strange points.

    These same folks had been willing to say that people who speak against same sex marriage should understand that their actions have consequences, and that others have the right to express themselves as well.

    In this discussion, it suddenly became about how people shouldn't discuss their tattoos or comment upon them.

    Granted, this wasn't everybody in the group. Some got the point of my questions immediately, but the few people who were loudest about no one having a right to be free of comment or criticism were suddenly arguing the other side vehemently.

    I'm not arguing that someone has the right to harass another person, which goes beyond speech and goes into threatening behavior. However, it was surprising to me that a few champions of freedom of speech suddenly changed position when it was about them personally.

    It's easy to have principles when things are easy, but if you just abandon them when things aren't easy, then they're not really principles.

    You can imagine how well that last comment went over. *laugh*

    Here's the question: Outside of harassment, is it wrong to expect that everyone has the right to express themselves however they want, whether it commenting on another person's bigotry, religion, tattoos, or whatever?
     
  2. tacotiklah

    tacotiklah I am Denko (´・ω・`)

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    Meh, people can have all the criticisms of me that they want. The field in which I grow my f**ks would still remain barren. :lol:
     
  3. AxeHappy

    AxeHappy SS.org Regular

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    I think, actually, taking your thought process to the limit would have to mean that harassment is okay?

    At what point does bagging on someone's tattoo become harassment. Their tattoo has no effect on your life?

    The reason it is okay to attack bigotry and religion is because they have a clear and present negative effect on society.




    That being said I actually agree with you. Just sort of playing devil's advocate.
     
  4. asher

    asher So Did We

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    I mean, my gut response is "people are stupid" :shrug:

    Because this is either people not knowing how first amendment rights work or "tolerate my bigotry" nonsense.
     
  5. vansinn

    vansinn ShredNeck into Beck

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    If only everyone would understand that criticism can be expressed in a constructive manner..
    In general, my stance is that if someone has nothing but negative criticism, this then likely won't contribute much to a potential discussion, and as such might just as well be kept behind one's own doors.

    I personally can say all I want that negative criticism doesn't affect me - but it does.
    Nevertheless, I believe anyone can say pretty much what they want; they'll just have to accept that I may choose to bluntly ignore, or even break from, them, should I find the crit too severe.

    It goes by the saying that "your right to criticize also invokes my right to be offended".
    I generally prefer intellectual discussions - even heated debates, but should the rough get going, I'll prefer spitting rather than bull fighting.
    And I really do not adhere to the concept that "sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than curse darkness.." :spock:
     
  6. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    woah woah woah, I just had to look up this "tat-calling". It is apparently considered a form of cat calling to talk to a woman about her tattoos? That doesn't seem to me like catcalling whatsoever. It's just a way to strike up conversation. Is it also cat-calling if I start talking to a girl about her hair?


    Hair and tattoos is your outward appearance. I think commenting on people's outward appearance is OK. After all, we have a certain level of control over that, and many people change their appearance purposely possible for the purpose of other people to notice how they look. Granted this isn't true for everyone, but this is my reasoning about why it should be generally acceptable to talk even to strangers about how they look. Within reason (obviously it's not appropriate to start talking to someone about horrific birth defects or something).

    Feelings about race, religion, politics, are really personal. Many people who know each other well don't even have a full understanding of others on this topic. I can understand why someone might not want to have their religion commented on. Or their feelings about race. Though I personally believe that we should comment at people who have bigoted opinions. But I can understand why it might make them upset.
     
  7. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The problem with these kinds of conversation is that the context behind any of it is never straightforward, so you can't make blanket statements like this without there being some kind of counter-argument to it. What about people's weight, is that ok to comment about? That's part of outward appearances. Or height? Some things about appearance are out of a persons control. Does the rule then become that you can only comment on things that are under a person's control?

    A lot of things about appearance are also tied to identity. Is it better to say that it's ok to comment on what a person puts forward as part of their identity? Then you get into all kinds of political nonsense.

    And that's the key to the whole thing: It's political nonsense. You can deconstruct all the little nuances and rules of social interaction if you really want to, but at the end of the day it boils down to just trying to be decently respectful when you can and recognizing that you're going to occasionally fail at it.
     
  8. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I was trying to (thought I did) imply that it's OK to comment on people's outward appearances that they are selectively controlling. So not height or weight or skin tone, but hairstyle, clothing, body modifications, make-up (so long as you're tactful with how your phrase things lol), accessories are all fair game.
     
  9. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The catch is that even those things that are selectively controlled are still things people can be sensitive about. Like the tattoos. Those are obviously something selected/controlled, but someone would be offended if I told them their tattoos were ugly, or that it was a bad decision to get one, or that it'll look bad when they get old, etc.

    Edit:
    Then you have to separate out the right to have that opinion vs. the right to voice that opinion vs. the right to be offended by that opinion, etc etc etc.
     
  10. asher

    asher So Did We

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    Going to quote my friend here:

    "99% of life's moral quandaries can be solved by not being a dick."
     
  11. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Well going up to someone and telling them their stuff is bad isn't a nice thing to do regardless of what it's about. Criticizing a stranger is likely to offend. I don't actually understand what that has to do with what we're talking about... do I not understand what we're talking about? I thought this was about modern day people having so much stuff up their asses that they get offended if you even so much as talk to them about stuff they have purposely drawn on their body.
     
  12. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    Did you mean to say "I think commenting on people's outward appearance is OK, as long as you're not being critical"?

    Of course criticizing someone is likely to offend them, but are those comments still fair game if they offend someone?
     
  13. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I think it's natural for people to be offended by criticism, regardless of its intention. I find it acceptable for someone to be mad about having their outward appearance, like tattoos, criticized. Almost especially tattoos since they can kinda "become part of you".

    I don't think it's acceptable to become offended/angry about someone simply commenting, neutrally or positively, about your outward appearance [that you control]--of course barring actual harassment.

    I'm calling the notion of "tat-calling" a bunch of bullstuff, essentially. If you're offended by someone being interested in your tattoos then you're an f-ing prude.
     
  14. Basti

    Basti not much space to wr

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    To me, an opinion is not a valid one if it goes against someone's nature, choices or actions and if these have no effect (specifically negative) on others.

    To be against gay marriage, for example, is to arrogantly impose your world views on other people's private lives. They're not doing it to make you angry, they're just being who they are or want to be, it needn't involve anyone else and you just have to respect it.

    As for people's appearance, they have their reasons (whether they regret them or not) and they're not asking for second opinions. Tattoos, piercings, hairstyles, deformities...those are none of my business and if I were to have a problem with them, well, it'd be my problem. And I'd have to get the hell over them.

    Too many people seem to feel the right and need to alienate those who differ from their perception of normality. Normality is another bull.... social construct which means absolutely nothing. You want to tattoo Mickey Mouse on your face? Go for it. I won't stare at you, I won't judge you any differently than I'd judge any other person I've never met, I won't point and laugh, I won't give you a patronising grin and I won't avoid you.

    Your opinion may be welcome in the context of conversation, but it should never be the first words out of someone's mouth.
     
  15. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I guess my question becomes then:

    Given that a criticism is made, and the person being criticized is upset by it-
    If a person being upset by the comment is deemed acceptable, does that make the original comment itself unacceptable?

    I guess another way to word it would be:
    Does a person have the right to say or do something offensive?
    Or is that right negated by the receiving persons right to not be offended?
    Or do people even have a right not to be offended?
     
  16. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    I thought we all have the right to all that stuff.
    To be offensive
    To be offended
    or to do and be neither or both

    I don't think we should start locking people up for decrying homosexuality. We should just publicly shame them for their wrongness.
     
  17. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I don't believe you for a moment when you say you won't judge someone for doing something you didn't expect. You may hold back your assessment but you'll have made that assessment nonetheless. The fact that you were able to describe something as an example of not-normal is proof of the fact that "normal" is a thing. Not being normal is not a bad thing, but that doesn't negate the existence or meaning of what normal is, or the fact that something non-normal will be assessed as such by most people.
     
  18. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    I don't understand this statement. How can you claim someone has a right, then punish them for having it?
     
  19. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    Not legally punish. Just socially.
     
  20. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    It's still a punishment for something you said they had the right to do. Isn't it unfair to punish someone for doing something well with their rights?
     

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