Sunday, February 15, 2015

Right to offend...

Perhaps, it is pretty late to talk about this, but still let me do.

A lot has been talked about 'Charlie Hebdo' attack. Naturally arguments were offered on both sides. But no matter what the debate is about, be it right to offend, the rights of press, the power of sarcasm, the thin line between 'free speech' and 'offence'/'abuse', nobody would defend an attack wherein one group kills the other just because their sentiments were offended. These kind of acts only distract the argument from 'logic' to 'being forced to take sides'. The actual idea that - free speech is not absolute and that it is in the best interests of everybody, not to misuse it to offend the sentiments of others - is lost in middle. And when free speech itself is not absolute, the question of whether one has free will to punish others would not even arise for current times.

Anyway, I was reading this article the other day - A culture that includes the right to offend the 'other', also needs to understand the 'other' - and having seen so many discussions going around, if I'm asked to conclude my ideas about it, I think I would more or less agree with what's told there. I wouldn't have any second thoughts to be party to the argument there. Satire that is more offensive than being able to send the message home rightly, defeats the purpose of satire, just like taking regulation (law) into one's hands (as per one's own judgement) defeats the purpose of regulation because the one handing over the punishment is not exercising self-regulation. Both means might not be equally dangerous, but neither of them is right. Evidently the latter means is more dangerous, but it is important to note that the former has in some way triggered the latter. One might argue that the latter, given their (in)tolerance levels, would act due to some or the other trigger, some day or the other, but I personally consider that irrelevant in the current context and see it more as a distraction for the current discussion.

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