Tag Archives: Free Speech

I Am Choosing A Great Day To-Day

Having had some pretty stressful times lately, and with more just around the corner, I have felt a bit battered and bruised, or, more accurately, knocked down and trampled. Things that normally come as second nature to me have taken huge efforts and I have just let others slide completely.

But a couple of days ago I started to get fed up with myself. And it came down to something as simple as this. With my first cup of tea in my hand I asked myself what kind of day I WANT; not hope for or expect, but want.

On the first day all I wanted was a better day than the one before, and so it was. The next I wanted a good day, and so it was. It’s Saturday to-day and I want a great day and I will have it.

There was no fairy godmother involved in any of this and shit still happened on those days, but I also found times of happiness and contentment. The only thing different was me. I chose to be.

My head is full of “I can” and “I will”. Perhaps silly things to some, but they are the things I can control and achieve easily; quick wins.

“I will spend extra time on my hair and I will put my make-up on”

“I will wear something I love to-day.”

“I will eat something yummie and then something healthy.”  (These two don’t often have common ground for me)

I haven’t been able to change the people around me or my circumstances, but I will get back up again and get on with my life, my projects and my loving those close to me.

Where Is The Middle Ground ?

In an era of supposed tolerance I fear society is becoming an environment of increased contradictions, hypocrisy and more polarised than I ever remember it.

By making things law we do not remove people’s ignorance or lack of understanding of different issues, but merely encourage bitterness and resentment which, with the right fuel, ignites into episodes of hatred and violence.

I was reading recently where some are asking for legislation to be passed that makes “wolf-whistling” illegal. I do not believe this is reasonable, or that it will prevent so many women being harassed in a deeply disturbing and intimidating manner.

We all know the difference between a “Hello darlin’ ” from a smiling, open face, without threat or malice, and a car full of men cruising along beside a lone female, making personal, pointed and threatening comments, leaving her frightened, embarrassed and abused. I have experienced both in my life, as have my two daughters, and they are as different as night and day.

Surely the first is about helping men understand what may or may not be suitable and the second should be dealt with under existing legislation. A new law will not bring a new understanding.

And what of me commenting on an image of a gorgeous, young man earlier this week online? Is that an offence? The comments coming back to me, from my female friends, would make your hair curl; funny but very rude. If my husband and his friends did the same about a gorgeous, young female’s image could I complain? No, but then I wouldn’t, if the context and intent was the same.

This week a court found a local bakery guilty of discrimination for refusing to bake a cake for a gay couple and ordered to pay £500 damages. Facebook has been buzzing and people who didn’t have much of an opinion on homosexuality, one way or another, or consider themselves as having strong Christian ideals, have been getting into quite heated debates ( arguments in some cases) over it.

With Colleen Nolan appearing on “Loose Women” and likening the baking of a cake for this homosexual couple to baking a cake for ISIS,( the cake being covered with a message supporting murder ), I see the already strained relationship here, between The Church and the Homosexual/Gay community, taking a few steps backwards. I empathised with the bakery if this truly upset their religious beliefs, but listening to this ignorant woman left me determined to not accept this kind of intolerance, wherever I find it.

We seem to need absolutes to-day; laws instead of reason, lists of “can and cannots”, instead of common sense and decency.

We complain of a “Nanny-State” and yet we are doing our level best to ensure that’s what we get.                    .

Justice For Children

I have just finished reading an article from The Independent regarding the reduction in sentence of the convicted abuser of a six year old boy, from six years to thirty-eight months. To be honest I had to read it twice as I thought I must be making a mistake; but no!

These two judges reckon this SIX YEAR OLD BOY was “making a precocious choice of his sexuality” and therefore the abuser’s behaviour could NOT be considered, in legal terms, “gravely outrageous”.

WTF!

Apologies to James Rush from The Independent for lifting so much straight from his article, but I am still going back and re-reading it to make sure.

Oh, and another brilliant nugget from these two “Judges” (I’ll use that term for the moment); one of them has claimed in a radio interview that, prior to the childs molestation by the convicted abuser, the boy had been subjected to,

“the initiation by his father into the worst of worlds, leading him to deprivation.” ( From interview with Judge Horacio Piombo )

Is this how far we have come in protecting our children from sexual predators? Are we as a society going to allow an adult to claim that a child is in any way to blame for the abuse they have suffered?

This case took place in Argentina, but as we all know, this lack of justice for children is a world-wide issue and no country can wag its judgemental finger at another.

In an era where we examine whether children are fatter than they should be, how they have so much more “stuff” than is good for them, it would surely behold us to make sure they are safer than ever before from the vile attentions of perverts and, if the worst does happen to them, that they are heard and then shielded from further harm.

Activist groups in Argentina are rightly outraged and are calling for the removal of both judges from the bench.

However, we desperately need to understand how any interpretation of law anywhere allows a six year old child to be portrayed as the villain.

A Quick Thought On Madonna

So Madonna sticks the lips on The Tuesday rapper, Drake, without so much as an “Excuse me dear” He looks like he wants to be sick afterwards, but says in an interview later it’s because of the taste of her lipstick. Yeah, right.

As usual, Ms M is unrepentant. Who’s kidding who. She loves it. Controversy is the air the silly old bag breathes.

But why is okay for her to “out-bloke” the blokes? If an older man had done that to a younger woman, in the same way, would we not all now be outraged?

Such empty, self-serving nonsense does nothing to promote equality for women, except in being equal to the men we now hold up to ridicule.

Down With Rom-Com Woman? Really?

Just finished reading an article about how “romantic-comedies” as a genre of movie are failing women, and they have some suggestions on how to fix the issues.

Rom-coms are not my thing in general, but I do not agree with the criticism levelled at them on this occasion. The article believes that, in an effort to better represent women, this type of movie has made the female leads out to be “perfect” rather than complex, as we are in actual life. Does anyone (male or female) watching a Rambo movie think of it as a representation of the average male? I don’t really think so. And most Rom-Coms I have (partially) seen are about as realistic as “Rambo” and his mates. It’s not really their purpose. They are fantasy, fluff and a bit of fun. I would not have looked to them for female role models. Would you?

The article does go on to point out that TV is doing a much better job of showing modern woman, with all our strengths, weaknesses and complexities coming out through the progress of the series. They have the time and capacity to expand on ALL of the characters, regardless of sex.

I agree, and there are some excellent examples out there. I know this one is over now , but , for me, the female roles in “The Sopranos” were incredible and wide-ranging and all caught up in a traditionally heavily “MALE” environment.

If you want to look at media that is not supporting women in a positive way then take on the “Porn” industry. I don’t know how you can keep young boys or girls safe from this huge influence to their ideas on relationships, sex and understanding each other on a level other than as sexual objects. I pity parents trying to shield their offspring as pornography is now so easily accessible and difficult for them to police.

The consequences to young people of taking their lead from porn has a far more damaging and far-reaching effect on all of us than some bit of old tosh of a “will they/ won’t they make it up the aisle” movie.

The Pro-Divorce Scenario

PIcture this please.

Father and daughter are sitting in the garden on a lovely sunny day. Daughter is pregnant with her first child and starts to discuss the recent departure of her mother for sunnier parts, never to return ( or so it was thought).

Daughter asks Father, “Dad, when did you know you had made a mistake marrying mum?”

Father pauses and then replies , “Well, about a fortnight after we married I think.”

Daughter is stunned and says, ” A fortnight? What happened? Why so soon?”

And so he continues, ” Well, she made my dinner one night and asked, as we finished, what I thought of it. So I said it was fine, but perhaps the potatoes could have done with being cooked a bit more.”

“And?” the daughter asks.

“And she didn’t speak to me for a fortnight. I remember thinking “God, I think I’ve fucked up here.”

Daughter continues, ” But Dad, if it was so bad so soon, why did you go on to have kids and inflict your unhappy relationship on us?”

“Oh, you know, nature takes over, things just happen,” he replied with resignation.

“Didn’t you ever think to divorce before we came along?” pressed the daughter.

Shocked, her Father replied, “Oh no! That wasn’t done! You couldn’t do that, no!” He seemed to shudder at the thought.

The daughter shuddered at the memories. I still do.

What About Saying What You Feel??

No-one can stop us from feeling what we feel, but how about saying what we feel? Is that OUR right, all of the time?

I don’t believe so, because it depends on the WHY. Why are we choosing that moment to speak what is in our minds? Is it to exercise our right to free speech or is it to hurt, to put another down under the camouflage of ” Well I was just telling you the truth.” And whose truth is it anyway? It’s theirs, and their truth at that moment, regardless of however little knowledge they have of whatever is going on.

And then there is the flip side to this,( as with most things in life), because how many people really, REALLY want the truth; yours or anyone else’s. How many times have folk said to me, ” Now, tell me honestly,” or “I need you to be straight with me,” and I look at them and think, ” Who are you trying to kid. You want affirmation of your own thoughts/actions and couldn’t give a hoot for my opinion if it is going to clash with your own.”

So, I will temper my response by how close these people are to me, how important the matter appears to be and how genuine their need for my version of the truth is. But at no time will I feel imbued with some God-given right to wound another soul with what I feel is the “honest truth” on any subject or issue.

But I apologise. I started this blog about ” feelings” which is not always about truth. I still think the same applies though; as long as you do no harm in expressing your thoughts then, there should be no problem. And to see both the good and the bad aspects of this subject we need look no further than “Facebook” , “”Twitter” et al.

Modern media has such incredible capacity and power for good, and yet, in the hands of those who would, in the past, have been no more than village gossips, they can now go global with their determination to tell us all, just what they feel, about anything and everything.

What we need now are filters! Big ones and built-in to our brains, with off buttons for bullshit, whinging, bullying etc and an “On” switch for all the good things in life.

The “Great Put Down”….?

Yes, I have laughed along with the best of them when a smart comment seems to take the ground from under a politician or other such publicity hungry individual who has apparently grown too big for their boots. The individual that deals the blow seems to grow in stature, to be feared and revered at once. Who has not admired the skilled comedian that leaves the heckler speechless and regretting he bought his concert ticket.

While we laugh along with the giant-slayer we are part of the crowd, anonymous and comfortable, relieved that, for now, we are not the victim of the barbs. But it can come to us all.

I have been told that no-one can put you down without your co-operation; a sentiment I understand and appreciate, until you remember that we all have weak spots. Those more subtle slights that compound our self-doubt can be more deadly than an outright assault, one we see coming and can fend off with a smart repost.

Who among us is bullet-proof when in the line of fire?  Not I. I have way too many faults and weaknesses to want anyone to “take me down”, humiliate or destroy me as part of some great sport. I would also take no pleasure in inflicting that on anyone else.

So leave it to the wannabe politicians and their inquisitors.

A “Great Put Down”. No Thanks

The Calm Before The……..Whatever

I keep checking the mirror to see if I still LOOK like me, because I sure as shootin’ don’t feel like me! I should be running around , crying, ranting, chewing my fingers to the bone, but I’m not. I feel strangely calm with just flutters every now and then of mild panic, quickly subsumed by this… “peace.”

I highlight this because it is common to a few situations close loved-ones have found themselves in lately as well. They have gone through horrendously stressful times, struggling with a life-changing decision, only to find that having taken the leap this same strange peace or calm descends. Other strong forces (sadness, grief, regret) can still take their toll, but, for me, the knowledge that matters have come to the only conclusion they could and should have, make the rest of it bearable.

But I am very, very fortunate. This could all sound incredibly trite to others without the level of support and kindness I am blessed with. I may yet be typing another entry in this blog with one hand, while tearing lumps of my hair out by the roots, cursing myself for putting my own happiness before my duty as a wife, daughter and mother. But what use am I to anyone without my soul and what example would that set to my adult children.  “Yes kids, live your lives but don’t believe that you deserve happiness, or peace, or self-esteem, or joy, or hope.”  No, I don’t think so.

I remember when my children were born saying the “only” thing I wished for them was that they be happy, truly happy. Some friends of mine hoped their children would be doctors or dancers or successful….you get the picture.  At this stage of my life I look back and think my wish may just have been the most ambitious.

The Absolute Right To Free Speech

So a meeting to discuss “Art, blasphemy and the freedom of expression”, is the latest casualty in the terrorist activities of Islamic extremists. One person is dead and three injured, though looking at the photographs it is amazing there were not more people killed or maimed.

All of us need to come out now, and demand the right for all,  to “Free Speech”, without fear of murder and mayhem. We may not always like what we hear, but without it we have dictatorships and lives ruled by those with the biggest sticks.

Women will lose everything our predecessors fought so hard for and whatever version of equality we have to-day, all of us will lose the right to take to the streets in protest; should it be about fracking, a local hospital closure or whatever flag is flying in your town/city.

We all need to look at how we can contribute to the continuation of this most basic right, whilst ensuring others are allowed to do the same.