At RT I was moderator for the HOW TO BE A BLOG QUEEN panel. There were two guys and two gals speaking and I was the youngest (in terms of years blogging and number of average hits) so perhaps my opinion shouldn't carry as much weight. But when the topic turned to "things you shouldn't blog about," there was a definite gender divide. The other woman and I thought it was wise to avoid politics, but the guys liked to stir the pot. Their blogs are visited by tens of thousands of people a day. 'Controversial' translates into lots of hits evidently.
Controversial translates into "gut-wrenching" for me. People get enough aggravation watching the news. They don't need it from me.
But John Scalzi said something that did make sense to my mind. He said "Own what you write." By that he meant state your opinion clearly and be prepared to stand by it.
But still, I don't write techno-thrillers or political espionage. I write romance. Historical romance, at that. My characters might be Whigs or Tories but who cares what my political thoughts are?
There is a highly successful writer here in New England who gives a political diatribe instead of talking about writing every time she's asked to speak. I don't agree with her politically so it's frustrating to listen when I'd really rather hear what she has to say about the craft and business of writing. But she "owns what she says."
So, at the risk of controversy, I'm prepared to do a little pot stirring today. It's something I feel strongly about. It's the First Amendment.
Recently in California some high school boys were threatened with explusion for wearing t-shirts with American flags on them on May 5th, Cinco de Mayo. The rationale for sending them home from school was that hispanic students would be offended.
That's a weak argument.
The first amendment doesn't guarantee the freedom of only non-offensive speech. This is America. We can say (or in this case wear) any silly thing we like. Whether we offend people or not.
The creators of South Park are developing a new show called JC in which a character representing Jesus is supposedly adapting to life in Manhattan. Will it be offensive to Christians? Bank on it. Do I wish they wouldn't do it? Of course. I don't like seeing anyone's faith demeaned, especially my own. Do I support their right to do it? Absolutely.
I also uphold my right to not watch JC. Or patronize any of the show's sponsors. That's how the first amendment works.
Those kids should be allowed to wear their flag t-shirts any day they please. And hispanic students should be able to wear shirts with flags of their choice. And NO ONE should get upset about it. This is America. You can say (or wear) what you want. And if you hear or see something that offends you, you don't have to listen or look. What you shouldn't do is threaten violence or try to silence the person who offends you. I had a civics teacher who always said, "My rights end at the tip of your nose." Makes sense.
Ok, now it's your turn. Say any silly thing you want.