I Don't Like Insensitive People, But I Defend Their Right to Look Stupid

Well it looks like I’m coming out of the closet.

Oh no honey not that, although you all know I frequent gay bars but it’s because I’m a hag not a participant. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, to quote Jerry Seinfeld.

Ok anyway, I’m coming out as a proponent of free speech.

See, I come from a long line of wildly rabid Kennedy Democrats. Yes, I am a bit left-leaning. In my youth I was much more so, now as I’ve gotten older I’m a little more moderate. Back in the day, I hated Ronald Reagan with a passion, nowadays… I still kind of hate him but with less fervor. 🙂

Anyway, today a local radio morning show team was fired because they went on a rant the other day about the new City of Rochester policy to cover essentially “sex change operations” and related services under the city employees health insurance. These two brain trusts went on a rant about how these people were nutjobs and they made dick jokes and such. Backlash ensued, at first they were suspended, now canned. Read about it here:

Kimberly and Beck fired for transgender comments


Now, I am ridiculously sensitive about letting people live and let live, I wish the world didn’t see color, religion, or sexual preference. Granted I trash talk some people now and again but I try not to demean their whole being. I will talk about what they do was stupid. But what they said was just insensitive and sophomoric. Especially talking about a local transgender high school kid on a softball team and his “extra bat”. Just dumb.

However… I fear our country has been venturing into dangerous territory. Every time I turn around there is some other public figure putting their foot in their mouth and people are demanding for their head on a platter. I just think it’s getting a little out of hand.

Now hear my out. I loathe racists and biggots. I used to hate on them back, which isn’t any better than what they do quite frankly. Well I feel, anyway.  Now I just shake my head and hope they see the light someday. If I am in the presence of someone making a biggoted remark, I try to fight for the cause by saying, “Well that’s not a very nice thing to say. Why would you say that?” Not to jump all over their shit but to let them know it’s not cool.

Take the whole Donald Sterling thing. You know, the Magic-Johnson-hating owner of the Clippers? Yes, he’s an asshole, no I’m not condoning him. And tell me you didn’t know about 5 Dads on your block when you were growing up who spoke just like him. No, it doesn’t make it right but don’t people have a right to be assholes in America? I mean… ok bad example, if he is jacking up people’s livelihoods by being racist then yea, he deserves to have his team taken away. Need to do more homework on that.

But like entertainers. The sportscaster that made the remark about the “chink” in the armor in the same paragraph as a story about Jeremy Lin the Asian basketball player who was on a hot streak a while ago. He got canned. Really? Poor taste, maybe. I personally think the remark was a stretch in being related. The network didn’t even think about it until the public started calling for his head.

See, that’s my problem. All these people in an uproar whenever they hear something they don’t like. It doesn’t make it right, but the world is filled with shit you don’t want to hear. It’s like that kid that runs around to all the adults “Jimmy said a bad word!” Many of these people are put on the air or become public figures because of their words and opinions. Let them use their words even if they attempt to make a tasteless joke. It might educate  us on what a tasteless joke is and how hurtful it can be… and how dumb you look when you say it. Now if people are calling for you to go kill or hurt somebody, that’s another thing.

I read this great article here:

The Oh-So-Fragile Class of 2014 Needs to STFU And Listen to Some New Ideas

It’s regarding the recent rash of schools cancelling commencement speakers because of pressure from the student body over something they didn’t like about the speaker. You know, I used to be one of these kids who would say “I don’t want that guy speaking at our school, he’s an asshole and he supported the war!” Now I agree, you might learn something new by listening to someone you don’t agree with. I mean, I’d still be probably sitting there stewing about how much the person irritates me but I’ll listen. Hey, just being honest. I just think we’re getting into a bad habit of trying to silence people we don’t agree with.

Yes, it’s a slippery slope. No, I don’t want to hear the leader of the KKK speak at a commencement. But ya’ know what… maybe I would. I would love to hear what the hell his problem is. I would be interested to see what makes him tick. Some would argue, “Don’t give him a platform!” I say, let’s see if maybe he’ll see the error of his ways. (naive, I know) I would love to see the Grand Wizard of the KKK forced to speak at the Howard University commencement. I would love for him to face a sea of successful and smart African Americans. I’m sure most people would want to jump up and rip him to pieces, literally. But, it’s an interesting thought.

I just hate this entitlement thing we’re headed toward. The “I don’t have to listen to anything I don’t want to” thing. It’s fine if you don’t want to, just don’t go, turn the channel, or don’t read. It’s not your God-given right to dictate what everyone else should hear, read, or watch. Will we get to the point where your co-workers go to your boss and tell him to fire you because you listen to Dave Matthews in your cubicle because they find it offensive? Personally I find DMB offensive to my ears, but I will defend your right to listen to annoying music.

I’ll probably get my Democrat card taken away, but I just believe that a democracy includes free speech. I’m not gonna’ go out and donate to the ACLU or anything. I just believe that assholes will get what’s coming to them, I don’t believe we need a public lynching for being rude, crass, or insensitive.

26 thoughts on “I Don't Like Insensitive People, But I Defend Their Right to Look Stupid”

  1. lilbillybaroo

    As an Eisenhower republican( what’s now considered a left wing nut job) I believe you should be able to say whatever you want, as long as you’re willing to take the consequences that go along with that.
    Whether it’s losing your job, having your business boycotted into insolvency, or being forced to resign from public office, free speech doesn’t mean, free reign.
    This world of instant sound bite means speaking your mind could expose it as well.
    No editing, nudge, nudge off the record do overs anymore, it’s all out there, and I say that’s great.
    Train of thought at your own risk…

    • Madge Madigan Post Author

      Well, yes I agree. Consequences. And no, I don’t believe you can say whatever the hell you want. But don’t you think it’s gotten a little out of hand with people demanding an apology all over the place because they didn’t like something someone said.

  2. Valentine Logar

    There are limits, even to speech. Sure you can say whatever you want, you can even say it in public. The problem with this is, others might be offended and you will have to be prepared for the backlash. I am all for free speech, I support free speech. I want everyone to have full access to free speech in the public square.

    If the Grand Dragon of the KKK gets up and starts exercising his rights, good on him. When I grow tired of him doing so, I will exercise mine and throw dung at him thus exercising mine.

    When Donald Sterling exercised his, the players of the NBA exercised theirs and let it be known they would boycott if something wasn’t done. The advertisers let it be known they would not be advertising. The owners let it be known they would not allow their business to be affected. Thus Donald paid the consequences.

    You do not have the right to offend when you work for someone else. That is not free speech. That is simple stupidity.

    • Madge Madigan Post Author

      Well the Donald Sterling thing is a whole other ball of wax, he offended almost everyone that works for him. And a lot of the fans and advertisers.

  3. Eric Brooks

    I’m totally with you on this. We’re going to start rejecting *everything* from everyone based on their imperfections? We will have nothing left. People have lots to offer, flaws and all. I am tired of all these emotional knee jerk reactions from people. Its okay to dismiss someone for being an idiot but when you want to draw the line just before tarred and feathered… Then its ridiculous. We need to toughen up.

  4. jacquiegum

    And this is coming from a conservative………tired of hearing the apologies! It’s not illegal to be a moron nor is it immoral! Can’t believe that everyone thinks themselves capable of judging anything they don’t personally subscribe to. Particularly egregious are the folks whose beliefs espouse inclusiveness yet they are anything but!

    • Madge Madigan Post Author

      Yea, the apologies… you know they are completely forced. This is odd to say, but I’d rather see a company fire a person rather than force them to apologize that’s totally insincere.

  5. Paul Graham

    It seems to me that everyone thinks a line should be drawn somewhere but everyone has a different slant on where that should be. Broadly speaking I’m in favor of people saying what’s on their mind if they’re prepared to take the consequences . It is often helpful to hear opposing points of view that are intended to be constructive no matter how wrong-headed we may find them. If for instance someone maintains that there are greater health-care priorities than sex-change procedures they have the same right to put forth their reasoning as someone who feels that way about nose jobs or breast enhancements but as soon as that degenerates into slurs upon the recipients no-one should be surprised if they lose their employment or face other sanctions. Beyond that, there are some things that a great majority would regard as hate speech and deliberately hurtful. For those I believe the consequences should be stiff and in some cases pre-emptive. The fact that whining about opposing views and overall political correctness have gone way, way, way too far is not, in my view a reason for the pendulum to swing back to ‘anything goes’

  6. Laurie Schwarz Hurley

    I think there are certain ways to behave in public and there are certain ways that are distasteful. I am a liberal, but not to the point of “live and let live” when the person behind the megaphone or mic is slamming another race or belief that is opposing something they believe in. There is too much slander going on today that is destructive, immoral, and totally obnoxious. People can believe whatever they want to, but when it is way over the line, cloaked in “free speech” is when I get frustrated and sickened in many cases.

  7. Christina

    I think Paul stated it very eloquently. When there is a line crossed into hate speech, then it’s a societal responsibility to speak up.

  8. Lenie

    I agree with Paul, Laurie and Christina. I do believe in free speech but not to the point where it hurts others. I support personal beliefs and choices, but not if they are slammed into my face. So I think the line must be drawn between what we want to say and what we should say. Not everything goes.

    • Madge Madigan Post Author

      But also I think there is a line between just saying “That lady’s a moron” and “That lady is a big whore who sleeps with everyone and kills kittens” or something.

  9. Beth Niebuhr

    It amazes me that the people who are the most extreme in their views seem to assume that everyone agrees with them and so they send endless emails to everyone they know spouting obnoxious ideas. My answer to that is “How about if I don’t send you my stuff and you don’t send me yours. Oh yeah, I already don’t.”

    • Madge Madigan Post Author

      Oh my God Beth, you are so right on with that one! Not only do they think they are the majority, but they are completely intolerant of anyone else’s views.

  10. TheGirl

    You know everyone has a right to be an asshole, but when you’re a public figure, like a radio broadcaster and you say such terrible things in public, prepare for backlash.

    • Madge Madigan Post Author

      I agree but to what extent? Is just calling someone a nutjob such a horrible offense? I mean I do think it’s bad and insensitive, I am very pro LGBTQ, however people said bad things about women every day, but I don’t feel the right to demand their head. Like Howard Stern is ridiculously offensive and misogynistic but I just turn the channel. I guess I would love it if someone could get him kicked off the air though. lol

      • TheGirl

        Yeh like the Obama vs. Clinton in 2004, people were up in arms at the hint of a group making a racial remark at Obama, but you barely heard a peep when a tea party protestors called Clinton a “B!%$#” during one of her campaign speech.

  11. Tim

    The whole notion of political correctness is a relatively new stream of thought. I imagine it was initially put out there to curb racial outbursts and other outbursts presumed to be against the good of all. Kind of like indecent exposure. What may be indecent to one may not be to another. With speech though it is more complex as there are so many views on a single topic and for those that are particularly adamant about their own views, any other view is ridiculous. People should be able to say what they want as long as it is not offensive under a legal measurement. When it is; consequences should reign. When it is stupid, as you say, then lets all lay off the witch hunt mentality and let the stupid person wallow in their their own stupidity. Public opinion should not determine fate. That is why we have a legal system that has its foundation in the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and subsequent amendments.

  12. Sarah

    As a Canadian, I am always shocked by the amount of Americans getting fired for saying something stupid. I also can’t believe all the public apologies. Some people are jerks. Maybe we need to hear the jerky people to remember why we aren’t jerks in the first place.

  13. Meredith

    I think your title says it all! Well put, and fun to read at the same time. Way to tackle a tough subject with a little sense of humor!

  14. Duke Stewart

    I agree with you on this to a degree, as a fairly liberal (not democrat) guy. It’s pretty bad in other countries so Americans should be thankful that it’s only an apology that’s required. However, I do think we should relax about things.

    Whether it’s nudity or swear words, people are such prudes about that but when someone throws out some racial/ethnic/orientation slurs, people line up to defend the perpetrator. It’s the degree of selective morality enforcement that should be looked at instead of our PC Police running amok.

    We are a melting pot. It’s time to act like one. Accept who has made our country strong and quit bashing them, even if you think it’s a quick and funny joke.

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