Friday, July 28, 2006

Brick Lane and our right to be offensive

Britain under New Labour has certainly become a more reactionary, conservative and oversensitive place to live and work. It seems as though the worst thing you could possibly do to someone is offend their feelings or sensibilities. Witness the bizarre spectacle of Ruby Films being forced to shoot a film about Brick Lane in another location, all because some locals have objections about the content of the film being made.

Abdus Salique, the self-appointed leader of the Brick Lane 'community' has gone further and has threatened to blockade streets in the area and burn Monica Ali's book, 'Brick Lane' at a forthcoming demonstration this Sunday. Salique also added that if Monica "has the right to freedom of speech, we have the right to burn books. We will do it to show our anger. We don't like Monica Ali. We are protecting our community's dignity and respect."

Well, I'm sorry, but that is blatantly ridiculous. Imagine a society where we have to avoid hurting someone's feelings all the time. The simple answer to that, is we would never say or write anything that smacked of controversy anymore. The problem is, people in a truly free and open society express strong opinions, they also uphold deep and sincer beliefs that might upset some people - but, that's just tough, that's life. Nobody has the right to demand silence from those who have hurt their feelings or who have offended their sensibilities.

I don't know about Salique and his bunch of miserable book burning zealots, but, what I do know is I want to live in a society that is open and free, I want a society where we feel free to say or film whatever we choose. I'd suggest that those like Salique who want to live in a world devoid of any offensive thoughts and ideas, that they should take up being a Benedictine monk instead.

UPDATE: I also recommend you look at this highly opinionated post by the Pub Philosopher. No apologies if this post causes great offense.

8 Comments:

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Roland Dodds said...

“Well, I'm sorry, but that is blatantly ridiculous. Imagine a society where we have to avoid hurting someone's feelings all the time.”

Truly a scary prospect. I am behind you 100% on this issue. Any individual has a right to be offended, but their right to be offended should not encroach on any other individuals right to express themselves.

 
At 11:01 AM, Blogger The Intolerant One said...

Howdy Courtney,

I followed your link over from Lucy's.

I took note of the same comment your previous commentor made:

Imagine a society where we have to avoid hurting someone's feelings all the time."

You haven't been over here (Canada) have you? The home of the hypersensitive where "overkill" on political correctness is order of the day.

Nice set up you have on your site.

Take care.

 
At 11:56 AM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

Hi TIO,

Thanks for the considerate comment - and it's true, I've never been to Canada, but, I would certainly love to visit your country.

Funny thing, it make's me think of that poor... well... (wrong choice of words there) millionaire actor, Mel Gibson, who has been forced to apologies to the entire Jewish diaspora, all because of a few words he said when he was smashed of his face on Tequila.

Why anyone would take any drunken ramblings serious is beyond me. If I had to say sorry to everyone I insulted while I was completely drunk (which is at least 3 times a year), well... put it this way, I wouldn't have much time to do anything else.

Very best wishes.

Courtney

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger Matt M said...

I think Gibson's apology had less to do with political correctness than with wanting people to go see his movies.

Heh - you could blame the whole thing on capitalism really: The only reason these protests get noticed is because the companies behind the book and film are looking for all the publicity they can get. If it wasn't for all this (As Eric Cartman:) "respect my community" crap I'd probably never have heard of the book.

 
At 6:39 PM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

"If it wasn't for all this (As Eric Cartman:) "respect my community" crap I'd probably never have heard of the book."

I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments Matt - Monica Ali and the film production company could never have got this amount of publicity, even if they paid through the nose for it.

"Gibson's apology had less to do with political correctness than with wanting people to go see his movies"

Indeed - talk about damage limitation exercise, or what?

 
At 11:38 PM, Blogger Roland Dodds said...

There was 3 hours of coverage dedicated to Mel Gibson and his comments on MSNBC yesterday! 3 HOURS! It is not like it was a slow news day, and yet all of their evening programs focused on it. Truly sad.

 
At 10:52 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

do you have more info in this? I somehow missed out on the whole issue!

 
At 3:25 PM, Blogger Daniel said...

checked it out thanks for raising the topic though

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home