Honestly, the sun always shines on the Glencoe Car Park Run.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Freedom of Speech or Inciting a Riot?

Okay, so now I've posted a few links about the place leading back to here, the pressure is on, metaphorically of course, to actually write something. Something useful, informative, entertaining, maybe even educating.

(Drums fingers on the table.)

(Looks out window for inspiration.)

(Scratches backside.)

(Tries whistling.)

Well, looks like no inspiration has fallen my way this morning. Maybe I'm still creatively and emotionally drained after watching the Old Firm game yesterday. Or perhaps it's more to do with the heated debates over the weekend about freedom of speech, what constitutes good writing and whether or not a specific website's editors are biased towards a particular religion. Usually I try to keep out of such forum topics for fear of upsetting anyone. Sometimes I even sit and type a lengthy reply only to either delete it or save it for deletion later. However, when I awoke on Sunday morning and the arguments were still raging I couldn't resist the urge. My fingers started typing by themselves and, well, before I knew it, my reply had been posted.

This, of course, led to the need to express myself further, only in fiction this time. I hurriedly composed a short story that summed up my feelings. Will it upset some people? Yes, I'm afraid it probably will. Should I be bothered about upsetting a section of society? Does it depend on who that section are?

Obviously I wouldn't like or want to upset the local Women's Guild, or a mothers and toddlers group, or the war veterans, or any fine upstanding citizens. No, honest, I wouldn't. Not even in fiction. I know, self-censorship could kill my art, but I'll take that chance for now.

Anyway, the question remains, to which particular group might this piece have caused offence. The answer: religious bigots, the dregs of society, the knuckle draggers who keep Scotland in the dark age by pretending we're in Northern Ireland.

Yes, you're saying. Get into those louts. Remind them the pen is indeed mightier than the sword. I hear you. The problem some may have with this particular piece is that is biased against one side and not the other.

Should I have written a more balanced piece? One that highlights the thugs on both sides of the religious divide? Well, I'm not the BBC. I don't have any obligation to be impartial. No licence fee money comes my way. If it did, I may be persuaded to add a few sentences about those Celtic supporting Catholics who...

I've written a couple of other stories touching on Glasgow's religious and football divide. They were balanced and pointed the finger at both. But I don't have to do it all the time. No-one does, unless you work for the BBC, of course.

Just like every muslim isn't a terrorist, every protestant isn't a bigot and every catholic isn't a tattie-muncher, although we do like a lot of chips, but not on our shoulders.

Here is a link to that story.
Time will tell what sort, if any, of response this latest story will receive. In the meantime let's look ahead to Winter. Yes, the snow will be here soon, and my Winter obsession of checking mountain webcams will soon be up and running.

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