Here’s some advice I read in the news paper recently. “ Don’t quote The Office without explaining the context”. From my recent experience even providing the context won’t stop some people being offended. I recently wrote an article on this web site about the reaction of some views to the karaoke scene in the Gavin and Stacy Christmas special. My point was those complaining were ignoring the context and insisting some words should never be used because they were deeply offensive.
My reason for writing the Gavin and Stacy piece was the criticism and censorship that followed a previous piece I wrote entitled “ A managers arrogance is one of the things that make them successful”. In this piece I quoted Mohammad Ali and it was his use of the N word that some people objected to. Again ignoring the context which was Ali making fun of white supremacists who were prepared to pay large sums of money to see him fight in the hope he would be severely beaten, and inso doing we’re making him rich.
Following a complaint and at the request of the site moderators I removed the offensive word and replaced it with the first letter N. However I was contacted by the moderator again this time to say following “ more complaints” they were removing the whole sentence. I was disappointed but accepted the decision whilst suggesting that the policy was reviewed to take account of nuance and context rather than a blanket ban on prescribed words. I suggested that this might be a debate they could lead on this site.
So far I have heard nothing. But I have been prompted to raise the issue again following a piece in today’s Guardian by the comedian Ramesh Ranganathan using a different example but asking the same question. Are we becoming a society were ,” people feel increasingly righteous about being offended”.
Blair Mcpherson www.blairmcpherson.co.uk