Tuesday, 3 November 2015

It probably isn't that simple, is it?

So, when I first starting slapping political commentary up on the blog, I thought that it made sense. I worried that, as a theatre critic, I had much to say about the politics of theatre but little about the politics that happen beyond the stage. Besides, politics is a form of theatre, right? It's another constructed performance, it's all aesthetic and your aesthetics are your ethics et c.

Lately, I just feel like another idiot scampering after the latest controversy. Sure, I have plenty to say about Germaine Greer and transphobia and the arrest of Bahar Mustafa (guess what? I support the freedom of speech of both women, even if I don't agree with them). 

With a cheeky internet search, I can find plenty of evidence that Universities have gone kill-crazy on censorship, or twitter triumphalism or discussions about privilege . Like I am sick of explaining the difference between dramaturgy and the dramaturg, I'm sick of stating my consistent position.

I support the right of people to express ideas that I do not accept, or
find offensive. 

This is mainly because I can remember a time when 'offensive ideas' included discussion of equality for LGBTQI people. 

Of course, there are caveats to this freedom of speech flag-waving: certain material is best not shown to children, trigger warnings are a good idea, when someone is offensive, then a reply is important. And yeah, I guess striking at someone's ability to earn money is a good way of encouraging them to consider their words carefully.

I even support women only spaces - if you want a male only space, there are plenty already (or stay in your fucking bedroom. That's what I do). 

But, like a good Marxist, I believe in dialectic - conversation - the possibility that words can change minds and hearts. 

And appealing to a superior power to silence the opposition is a surrender of personal power. It might look as if twitter activists have forced the boycott of that particular speaker, but it is the existing authorities that made the decision. 

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