Thursday, March 24, 2016

Of Chocolate and Offence

Subtitle: Good Friday indeed.

Today is Friday and I predict it will be a good one, but not for any religious reason.

The facts are that Agata and Marcus are at home together, we are both getting into great physical shape, and Friday is another chance for a small local adventure

But the subject title is Offence.  And for this I require a simple thought experiment.  it is to understand that what offends me, might not offend you.  And even living in a Western Society with many accepted shared values and norms, I might find something you actually like, deeply offensive.

For my experiment I need Chocolate!

Here are some facts:

- Marcus and Agata gave up Chocolate at the end of 2015
- We didn't even eat Chocolate at Christmas
- At Easter approaches the shops are full of chocolate, presented in places (e.g shop entrances) that make it impossible to avoid
- At our current state, this represents temptation
- But I can imagine that if we fully kick the chocolate habit, and become "chocolate is evil, fattening, life shortening" evangelists that the mere sight of Chocolate would cause Marcus at least offence

Do you see the point?

Okay,  let us take Wine as an another example.  There are countries whose state religion forbids alcohol.  To many people in those societies,  alcohol is an evil substance,  the mere sight or possession of it,  not even its consumption causes not just offence, but can be punished as a crime.

John Cleese: Offence and Correctness

David Cameron: Right to Offend

Richard Dawkins on Offence

Like Richard Dawkins I find sagging trousers and backward caps offensive, but I don't therefore think they should be banned so as /not to hurt my feelings/.

Does Free Speech Offend You?

Christopher Hitchens: Offended

Back to Chocolate
So, relax,  I am not yet offended by the public display of Chocolate. Though its prominent placement in Supermarkets makes me susceptible to buying it, and its then inevitable consumption negatively impacts my health.   

So my point is.  In a democratic and free society I realise that I may be offended by others and equally I have the right to offend others. I don't accept the special pleadings of those who claim the right not to be offended.

Testing Religion and Offence
Free Speech and the Right to Offend

Freedom isn't Free