Well this week I’ve been thinking about sensitivity. I post on the evo forum...
I’d link to it but it’s not an especially friendly place even if you do love cars to the extent that you can imagine rating the “correctness” (TM Jobbo) of everything from upholstery to LSD* in an MX5 and thought From A to B was one of my best posts. Actually if that is the case I’ve added a link in the comments on that post. I could add it to the main body of post and thus provide a nice little hyperlinky but that’s just not how this one is going to play out.
... Anyway it’s a little place on the internet where calling someone a cvnt (the swearbot is a cross little bot) is a term of endearment. My point (and I’m getting to it) is that for a long time this ginger stepchild of the interweb was a fairly ignored area. Largely self regulated and populated by some of societies more interesting rejects, debate is quick, funny and considered (it may be consideration as to how best integrate fish puns into a seemingly unrelated subject but considered nonetheless).
What has changed recently is that evo magazine to which the forum is related (discussing the latest issue usually makes the hot topics) has a new editor and Nick Trott has perhaps bravely, perhaps foolishly decided to descend to the internet’s cellar and engage with the Evoisters. And he has done it well; Mr Trott has been friendly and flexible. It probably helps that the magazine’s direction under him has largely been considered to be a good thing but he also seems to be a genuinely nice bloke. One thing he has done that has caught the attention of the posters (that point, it is coming up soon) is a section in the magazine within the letters page called From the forums. I’m not sure whether it hopes to inspire more intelligent conversation on matters of cars through flattery of tender online personalities by putting their thoughts in print or whether it’s simply another way of sharing car views but a funny exchange made this month’s press via the topic of ‘Manual or paddles.’
Rich B : Hands up who’s answered this question in a serious manner because this looks like the kind of thread that will get featured in the mag.
JL : <3 pedals, you’re a home. Print that.
Beyond the fact this genuinely made me laugh, it made me realise how rare it is to see a representation of humour that touches on the politically incorrect. I love this soapbox as I have complete freedom but while I recognise a need for moderation and a need to protect the rights of those potentially subject to discrimination, much of modern media takes this far too far. Evo magazine has made a brave move publishing this comment but it’s one I applaud. It is obviously made tongue in cheek and by recognising there being a place for that, evo magazine steps off the bandwagon of perpetuating stupidity by pandering to the over sensitive.
An example of where we’ve lost track of freedom of expression is the reaction to Gordon Brown referring to a woman as a bigot. Now I’m no fan of Gordy but I really feel for him at the moment. He isn’t one of life’s charmers and is awkward in public but he seems to believe in what he does (he’s wrong but I respect his conviction). The recording of him sounding tired once he had thought he had left the public sphere struck me as an infringement upon his liberties. At what point do we lose the right to an opinion? The right to express an offensive opinion publically I agree should be limited and particularly those in the public eye should face repercussions if they go beyond acceptable lines but to think those opinions is surely still within our rights and to express it privately is again reasonable. I think this largely because the alternative is intolerable.
What is important about this is that if we want authentic and honest leaders then we must allow them to be people. I’m not entirely convinced by Clegg’s slightly nice but dim persona but he strikes me as being the most trustworthy of the three. Clegg admits the limits of his knowledge and I think that has been what makes him so popular in the leaders debates. What got lost in the overreaction to bigotgate was that Gordy has a job to do and his campaign leaders need feedback such as his rating of the people selected to speak to him.
Sensitivity seems to get in the way of much these days and it was timely that a piece by Tim Ferriss that I caught via Mashable today featured the immortal line from Colin Powell that “Trying to get everyone to like you is a sign of mediocrity.” We hate it that politicians lie but are not prepared to accept that even though they want our vote, they may not like us as individuals.
I do take politics seriously (hell I’m writing up the thesis to my third degree on the subject) but I think we need a little more of the attitude expressed by the poster known as JL. I’d love it if Gordy could just turn around and say “I think you’re a tosser but I’m still the best person for the job” because we know Gordy is a cunt and Gordy knows he is a cunt and it’d be nice to shift the focus to the policies. I won’t be voting Labour but that’s not because I dislike Gordon Brown and I won’t be voting Lib Dem because I quite like Nick Clegg. My personal view of David Cameron is actually that he has an unnerving resemblance to a Ken doll but of the three I believe he’d make the best Prime Minister and that the Conservatives represent the best option for the intelligent voter living in the real world. And I’d still think that even if Dave called me up this evening just to say he doesn’t like me.
* Hint: Not drugs