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Interesting opinion piece about freedom of speech

Discussion in 'The Pub' started by Incontinentia, Jan 9, 2014.

  1. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/b...ws-how-intolerant-modern-britain-is-becoming/

    It’s official: you are no longer allowed to express old-fashioned religious views on British TV. You’ll certainly be censured for doing so, and will be warned never to repeat your wicked words.

    That is the take-home lesson of the Evander Holyfield controversy. Holyfield, a former heavyweight boxing champ, is currently on Celebrity Big Brother on Channel 5. On Saturday night, in a chat with a fellow contestant, he expressed his Bible-informed belief that homosexuality is not natural. “The Bible lets you know there’s wrong, there’s right”, he said. And from his reading of the Bible he has deduced that homosexuality “ain’t normal”. He also expressed the view held by some Christian groups that homosexuality can be “fixed” through some kind of therapeutic intervention.

    Are his views outdated? Absolutely. Are they wrong? I believe so, and many others will, too. Are they offensive? To some I’m sure they were. But should Holyfield, and anyone else who is invited on to TV precisely to express him or herself and to be “real”, be allowed to give voice to such moral beliefs? I think they should; Channel 5 takes a very different view.

    Shortly after he made his comments, Holyfield was hauled into the diary room and told by “Big Brother” – that is, one of the producers of the show – that he had used “unacceptable language”. What they meant was that he had expressed an unacceptable idea. He had not used the q-word or the f-word to refer to gay people; he had simply expressed an idea, his inner belief that homosexuality is wrong. He was told that the expression of such views would not be tolerated. “You expressed the view that being gay was not normal and could be fixed”, said Big Brother. “While Big brother realises these are the view you hold, they are not the views held by many people in society, and expressing these views will be seen as offensive to many people.”

    This is extraordinary. What Channel 5 is effectively saying is that it’s okay for Holyfield to possess very outdated views about gay people but he is not allowed to express them, because they are not shared by “many people in society”. So what? Are we now only permitted to express views that chime with the mainstream outlook? Are no minority opinions, whether they come from Christians or Commies or 9/11 Truthers, allowed, even on a TV show that prides itself on capturing "real" life and interactions? Whatever happened to that great liberal John Stuart Mill’s insistence that, “If all mankind minus one were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person than he would be justified in silencing mankind”? Today, so cavalier have we become about the old Millian ideal of freedom of thought and speech for all – even for those who offend us – that we think nothing of censuring a man simply for expressing a view that is “not held by many people in society”. Big Brother, indeed.

    There is a great irony to this censuring of Holyfield, and to the fact that Channel 5 has been cheered for its censure by many gay rights activists and gay commentators. In the not-too-distant past, it was people who expressed favourable views of homosexuals in popular culture or on TV who would have been frowned upon, possibly finding themselves censured by the “moral majority”. They, too, would have been told that their views were weird and perverted and held only by a minority and possibly offensive to “many people in society”. For years and years, openly gay literature and culture faced censure by those who claimed to represent the decent, majoritarian outlook; how sad that some gays now support the censure of religious folk who are critical of homosexuality, again by the self-styled guardians of what “the many” think is right.

    There’s a further profound irony to the censuring of Evander Holyfield: it has been done in the name of tolerance yet it is actually a prime example of intolerance. In the name of promoting society-wide tolerance of homosexuals, we must not tolerate the expression of any criticisms of homosexuality, the anti-Holyfield lobby says. Singer Boy George has even suggested that, post-Holyfield, there should be a “huge sign” at customs saying: “Welcome to Britain – racism, sexism, homophobia and bad hair are not tolerated.” Remarkably, some people think such censuring and punishment of outdated views about women and minorities is a sign that Britain has become more tolerant. Actually it shows the opposite – that Britain is now astonishingly intolerant of anyone who holds the “wrong” views, views that run counter to mainstream thinking, and it will humiliate them in public if they dare to express themselves and warn them to keep their filthy ideologies to themselves. Intolerance is intolerance, whether its aim is to forbid the expression of gay love or to punish the expression of criticisms of homosexuality.

  2. Yeah I agree, with one proviso.

    TV isn't reality, as a TV company they have more important things to worry about than free speech.

    The trouble is that in stopping him no one can call him out on his nonsense views.
  3. Theyre his opinion, he has as much right to say it as you have to promote yours.

    although he deserves whatever he gets for going on the shitfull bloody thing anyway..
  4. The one problem with this is the censure is purely about money and ratings. Big brother is not the yard stick of society and can tell contestants what ever they want. If he wasn't censured there would have been the good old switch off by rights lobbys which unfortunately in this commercial world is far more important than preserving freedom of speech. This rings true on both sides. The right and left has alwaya achieved censorship through threatening the bottomline. So in anything governed by commercialism you always get a beiging out of the extreme views.

    If freedom of speech enthusiasts were as easily offended as other groups than you might see a difference but being a freedom of speech enthusiast generally excludes someone from being easily offended.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. That was a great article and video. While I don't agree in any way with Holyfield, I do believe he should be allowed to express himself. Channel 5 would have know he held views along these lines and that is why he was in Big Brother, they want this controversy!

    When I was in College I seen this "free speech (only for our opinion)". An anti-abortion advocate came to give a lecturer, this was met by protests and placards. Security was trying to control the protest which was getting heated when I was trying to get past it on my way home. In the pro-choice crowd was a friend of mine and I asked what was going on, he said that security was taking away their free speech. To that I said but were you not trying to take away the free speech of the anti-abortion advocate, he did not agree...

    I always say "only so much free speech is worth listening to", but I think everyone should have to right to free speech. If people were able to form their own opinions and not get scared of opposing views, then I believe there would be no need for any type of censorship.
  6. Don't forget, this is a country who's police force let young teenage girls get ra.ped by their thousands because investigating grooming gangs was considered racist.
  7. Another problem is that censorship is speech.

    Holyfield expressed his freedom of speech by saying dumb shit. Big brother expressed its freedom of speech by telling Holyfield to not express his freedom of speech. The Telegraph expressed its freedom of speech by telling big brother off over telling Holyfield off. Now I'm criticizing the Telegraph off about it all and someone is more than welcome to express their views on how moronic this post is.

    The fact that everything above is publicly available is a sign that freedom of speech has not actually been stymied. Just a lot of people whinged and not a lot happened. Freedom of speech is a problem when you don't hear about it but thankfully anyone saying anything remotely controversial gets far more media attention than the beige crap.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Good point well made. I don't think that free speech is under threat. Only that people will easily try and stymie it when they don't agree with it.
  9. #9 ogden, Jan 9, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014
    This thread is bullshit.

    The article is a predictable beat up by a right-wing newspaper with a political interest in making a fake mountain out of out a fake molehill made of tinsel and shining lights.

    The fact is there was no censorship. If there was, Hollyfield's utterances about homosexuals would have been edited out of the shows proceedings. No one would know about it, and there would be no story.

    The TV producers have played a double game. Censuring (note the spelling) is not censoring. The TV producers censured Hollyfield because they have a very good knowledge of the demographics of the show's audience. They have sold this demographic profile to their advertisers. They don't want to alienate key sections of this profile. But controversy is what the show is about. From Day 1 they have deliberately cultivated the public expression of intolerance. They select their contestants to achieve maximum conflict. But they want to achieve it without it contaminating the show's public image, because that potentially contaminates the advertisers. By censuring him they get the ratings-winning controversy, while keeping the advertisers happy (because they don't want to be associated with the views expressed).

    Note that no penalties were actually threatened by the producers. They are actually hoping that that he will do it again. The persona of big brother has no raison d'etre without controversial acts to censure. It has no interest in censoring them.

    So, why has a scurrilous right-wing shit-rag (author), who writes for a number of scurrilous right-wing shit-rags (newspapers AND their editors) latched onto it, when nothing more than an exchange of views has occurred between a game-show contestant and his fictionalised host? Because the show has a fictionalised pretence of authoritarianism, and the right have a vested interest in giving left-wing causes the false illusion of authoritarianism. They also have a vested interest is stoking xenophobia and hate, thereby normalising its expression. This is why freedom of speech is invoked in reference to a context in which it was never actually threatened. Their motive is the old game of divide and rule. The last thing they want is people putting aside their irrational prejudices and creating the conditions broad-based solidarity against genuine social ills (such as social prejudice), without which democratic movements founder. If they can due this by making themselves seem saintly and pure, so much the better for them.

    The question remains? Why have you mob sucked up this shit?
    • Agree Agree x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  10. #10 Incontinentia, Jan 9, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 9, 2014
    Thanks genius, but if I need a fcuking dictionary, I'll use a fcuking dictionary.
    He was censured for expressing his opinion. Which is rather poor form whichever way it's looked at. The only reprieve is that the channel is a private company and answers to its board and shareholders.

    If the topic was scripted, then so was telling him off and it will be scripted if it happens again, and really I have no issue with it if that was the case. People who watch that shit deserve to get flooded in it.

    And for what it's worth, the second post adds far further to the discussion than the article was intended to, the article simply brought up the issue.
  11. Wasn't that the guy who got his ear bitten off?

    Might be he couldn't hear big brother anyway, depending on which side the speaker was on.
  12. You say you don’t need a dictionary, but if you understood that the act of censure doesn’t constitute a threat to freedom of speech, and if you weren’t duped into thinking it was by the bullshit spun in that article you posted, you wouldn’t have posted it as exhibit A in a thread titled “Interesting opinion piece about freedom of speech”.

    To reiterate: to censure someone is not necessarily to threaten or impose a penalty. It is simply to express disapproval. The act of censure is therefore not a threat to free speech but something that occurs within its bounds.

    If you are talking about free speech (see title of this thread), you’ve implicitly introduced its inverse concept, i.e. censorship, which acts either through power to prevent publication, or via the imposition of a penalty imposed for not respecting a demand that certain utterances not be made. Neither of these occurred. Hence free speech was not at issue, and the article you post was pure, ideologically-motivated rubbish.

    So to go whingeing that no one mentioned censorship simply shows you’re either (a) “stupid”, (b) “don’t understand the words you use”.

    Either way, I think you’re a goon.

  13. Goodo. What was obvious was that someone was told off for expressing their opinion. If you want to quack on about semantics, feel free. I'm not interested.

    So any topic anyone talks about automatically implicitly introduces its inverse concept, does it? So what you're saying is that every thread about motorcycles implicitly targets cars. Every thread about sportsbikes implicitly brings up harleys. I think you need to go and jerk off over there ----->

    Mummy he called me a name
  14. There's more to oppressing free speech than censorship. This is a case where the left decrees something to be evil, so they stifle it, and then the 'right' goes over the top. And in the end, the cry of free speech (and counter free speech - which doesn't make sense - but since when do these things) is just another weapon to be used in oppressing it.
  15. The thing is there is really no stifling but the opposite. You express an extreme opinion and it gets far more attention. A bloke who is famous for losing an ear says something on a british reality show. Who gives a shit. He says something provocative and people on the other side of the world on a forum devoted to motorcycles are talking about it.
  16. Be fair. No one is talking about what he said. People are talking about the reaction. If he said it and everyone ignored him, this thread wouldn't exist.
  17. You think there aren't a lot of people too scared to state their honest opinions on so many issues?

    Lets take a simple example of this hypocrisy. How many 'blond' jokes are there? Nobody goes PC on them, right? Change blond for something PC, and see what happens. Not funny any more, are they.
  18. Freedom of speech and speech with consequence are entirely different things. I can be as racist sexist biggoted as I like but I have to deal with the consequences. If I say something racist and get labeled as a racist it has nothing to do with my rights if freedom of speech being compromised. Its everything to do with my rights to freedom of speech and someone else's rights to say they find it offensive.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  19. #19 ogden, Jan 12, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2014
    So you admit you don't understand the terms of the debate. Goodo. ;) But you're lying to say your not interested, or you wouldn't have added another paragraph to your response. Let's see what you have to say...

    :facepalm: Motorcycles and cars are not the inverse of each other, just as 4 is not the inverse of 2. Nor are sportsbikes and cruizers opposed in such a way.

    So, it can't be "any topic anyone talks about" (Yr words), because not all concepts exist as part of a binary opposition. But when it does come to such binaries, it is impossible to introduce one half of of binary pair without implicit reference to the other half. You've heard the expression "two sides of the same coin"? That is what is going on here. It's just that you're too dumb to see it without a bit of friendly help.

    Nah, I think I'll stay here an needle you, 'cos I love it when right-wing stooges are made to eat shit.
  20. [​IMG]



    You're right. I obviously do care. Carry on.