15th April 2009

“One particularly fatuous female columnist here in Ireland bleated during the Danish cartoon disgrace, 'freedom of speech doesn't mean the freedom to offend'. Actually, sweetheart, that's exactly what it means.”

Ian O'Doherty

10 Responses to “15th April 2009”

  1. Erica Says:

    What does being female have to do with it, and why address her as “sweetheart?” Does O’Doherty believe he is proving her ignorance by citing her gender? I agree with his point about freedom of speech, but the way he framed his argument weakened it.

  2. Please engage brain Says:

    Sorry Erica but I disagree. By saying “Actually, sweetheart, that’s exactly what it means.” – Ian O’Doherty is cleverly defending freedom of speech and deliberately insulting the female columnist at the same time (also backing up that freedom of speech means we should all be able to offend or criticise anyone – whether men, women, christian or muslim).

  3. Erica Says:

    …and I am exercising my freedom of speech to criticize sexism when I see it. We’re all rather clever, aren’t we?

  4. Larry Huffman Says:

    LOL…Well Erica…some are more clever than others.

    Not sure how clever you are to not pick up on the fact that his offense was calculated.

    Of course there are people who get offended at anything…without thinking…this would be you Erica. “ACK! look at what he said! I agree with him, but he offended me. Must complain!” And then…even after you understand that the offense was to show a point of freedom of speech…you have a problem.

    So…when you say you agree…you do not mean it. Or…like the subject of the quote…you want freedom of speech unless it offends YOU. Let it offend the religious…but boo if you offend the feminists.

    To agree would have been to not actually take offense, but to see that it was pointed at the person who was trying to limit freedom of speech. Then, here you come, saying you agree, and then saying he was wrong to state it as he did…thus wanting to limit his freedom of speech. Why? Because he now offended you. LOL…Comical and ignorant.

    Erica…your comments above make you look exactly like someone who thinks freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to offend. But Erica, sweetheart…it is precisely that. 🙂

  5. Admin Says:

    freedom of speech does not mean the freedom to offend. But …it is precisely that

    Yes, but we shouldn’t cause offence without good reason.

    I suggest we move on from this before it leads to bloodshed.

  6. Larry Huffman Says:

    Really…ok, so there should be a freedom of speech watchdog to determine what the reasons for the offense are and if it was for a ‘good’ reason? What is a good and bad reason then? Who determines that? You? lol

    You see…once you start slicing and dicing freedom of speech…the minute you put conditions on it, no matter how altruistic you try to make it sound…that is the minute it is no longer free speech.

    After all, your bad reasons might be my good ones. And if I wish to bring a particular kind of attention to an issue…I am quite sure those being offended would consider that a ‘bad’ reason. So I should shut up? Sorry…no.

    The real problem is everyone’s willingness to be easily offended…and people’s willingness to pretend to be offended. Most people who cry out about being offended are not really as put out as all of that. They are just seizing the moment to make their counterpoint from a victim standpoint.

    And this is a discussion forum…so there will be no bloodshed (give me a break). Change the topic? LOL…This is the topic. The quote of the day is about just this. So no…changing the topic is ridiculous as well (not to mention a polite way of telling someone to shut up…again…free speech??)

    So your “Yes, but we shouldn’t cause offence without good reason” is totally erroneous as well…and the person issuing the quote above would disagree with you…in fact, he does, all over his quote. Your comment is limiting freedom of speech based on people being offended…his entire point is that other people’s feelings do not factor into what is allowed in the context of free speech. If there is any limit, then it is not free…it is limited speech. Any limit…even if you think it makes it nicer.

    You are the admin? You put this quote up for discussion…and then you want people to stop discussing the very topic at hand? LOL How ignorant is that??

    We are turing into a nation of crybabies…rather than people who can discuss an issue intelligently and without pretending to have our oh-so-fragile feelings hurt. Rather than be offended, offer reasonable alternatives…or even an arguement against the offending person’s views. Make a stand, don’t lie down and cry.

    (And for Erica…have you ever looked at the early feminist movement material…the stuff that got the ball rolling? They used plenty of things that were patently offensive to the point of view at the time. The feminist movement offended the male-dominated world right into concession…and that was as it should be. So do not act like you are defending feminism…feminists like yourself may get offended…but what was said does not offend feminism. It can take it in stride just fine without your feigned hurt feelings. You make feminism look weak when ‘sweetheart’ seems to trip you up. Feminism is a lot more thick skinned than that. Why don’t you focus your offense against religion, where just today a law was passed in Afghanistan that essentially allows husbands to rape their wives. Because of Islamic laws. Now that is worth your efforts…not objecting to sweetheart.)

  7. Prime Directant Says:

    My opinion is that all of you are expressing your opinions, whether it be: “sweethart”, “you are sexist”, or “shut up y’all.”

    It was the female colonist’s opinion on free speech, and was countered by the opinion of Ian O’Doherty. The latter’s opinion lost not because silence, but rather his voice was drowned out by a larger group of individuals who more or less agreed with opinion of the columnist. As Thomas Jefferson said regarding his government
    “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.”

    Sometimes it is easy to forget that freedom of speech is the freedom to criticize AND commend.

    This is my opinion you criticize it as you wish, it is your right.

    By the way, shouldn’t this discussion be in the political science forum?

  8. Erica Says:

    My original point was that he specifically targeted her gender to insult her. Why not call her a stupid Mick? Because he’s Irish too, so that’s neutral to him. Why not just call her an idiot without using her gender, something she cannot choose, as a way to characterize her as ignorant? His argument is that she should change her beliefs, which are chosen, and with this I agree. The fact that he targets her gender in a condescending way is, I would argue, pandering to a stereotype of one of her characteristics that cannot be chosen, and because he bases his argument on that rather than on facts, I think it weakens his argument. That was my original point, that I do agree with him, but that sexism weakened an otherwise strong argument.

    Perhaps in context I could have picked up on his quite subtle and ironic use of sexism to make his point. As it stands alone, the quote makes him look like a ranting pig who likes to hear himself spout off. But this is obviously quite common among men, Larry.

    Condescending to a woman by calling her sweetheart is in the same vein as the Taliban’s oppression of women. Anyone can see that they are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but it’s the same spectrum, the belief that women are inferior. I don’t believe I weaken feminism by protesting misogynistic views.

    Larry, you and I agree on one thing: this isn’t bloodshed, it’s a discussion. Well, two more things: religion is worth fighting against, and freedom of speech, and discussion, is worth fighting for.

  9. Admin Says:

    Re: bloodshed – I was being sarcastic.

    Re: offence – I still can’t see that it’s a good thing to be offensive for no purpose.

    Change the topic? LOL…This is the topic.

    You got me on that one.

  10. The Heretic Says:

    Re: Condescending to a woman by calling her sweetheart is in the same vein as the Taliban’s oppression of women.

    Do you actually believe that???!!!

    I suggest you read up on the Taliban. That comparison is like shooting someone with soap bubbles being in the same vein as firing at them with a Sherman tank.