Friday, 23 October 2009

Free speech

The other day the rotund wrote a telling point about 'safe spaces' that is rarely made by quoting someone on the matter.
a women named Ladyjax had something to say about safe spaces that seriously stuck with me – that safe spaces are not comfortable. They are some of the most challenging spaces around.
I've found this, certainly in terms of the fatosphere [which I didn't think of as a safe space, rather more a coming together of people with similar experiences] to be the case. It's worth noting not only because it is paradoxical, but also unexpected. The unwary have found themselves coming unstuck due to the expectation that it is a safe space and that = a safe place for them.

This is how I expressed it. It was responded to by someone called Vixen thus. To say that I was taken aback, appalled to be honest. I wasn't angered, all I could think was gosh, to think I would be seen to represent some nonsense doublethink such as "freedom is slavery". It seems to come down to Vixen's definition of free speech, not matching her idea of it in reality;
I just think that free means free — uncontrolled and uncensored, at least as to type of opinion or ideological content. Implying otherwise is disingenuous. IMHO
I agree with the first sentence completely. It's precisely because this has not happened in the mainstream that created the fatosphere!

What I was saying was that the mainstream is oppressively exclusive in its leanings. It is free in the sense that only that script is allowed. It's difficult to resist because its not a 50-50. It's all on their terms. And that's hard when you have to recover from that mindwarp yourself.

She doesn't seem to get that at all and that's why she didn't get what I was saying. It isn't free, it only sounds like that.  And that's a problem for a lot of people who support free speech, they don't seem to grasp its real life dynamics.

Let’s just not bullshit ourselves by saying such spaces are really about *potentiating free speech* when this is achieved — by design — by the suppression of other forms of speech.

That simply isn't bullshit, it's true! Safe spaces have and do increase freedom of speech overall. Again this idea of freedom of speech in every space is peculiar. That will be dominated by powerful interests only, reinforcing and empowering them.

Yes, they do suppress other forms of dominant speech which themselves have squeezed out the very thoughts being explored. Not all of that can happen in a cut and thrust, it sometimes requires contemplation.

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