Say what you want, but be civil about it

Say what you want, but be civil about it

The only real beauty in this world is the freedom of speech. Because of it, I could run around the streets yelling “Taylor Swift makes bad music and should be charged with crimes against humanity” without getting arrested. Being able to express your opinion in public is a wonderful thing.

My right to express myself also allows me to act upon my beliefs. Let’s say I got ticked off by Swift’s headless chicken dance and decided to start my own “T. Swift Haterz” group one day. That would still be fine because I am not really hurting anyone or anything (apart from Little Miss Swift’s feelings).

But what if I took it a step further? Let’s say I got permanent ear damage from listening to one of Swift’s god-awful songs and decided to start a radical anti-Swiftism movement with the aim of removing her and her fans from this planet. I would be arrested the minute I make the announcement.

Though the freedom of expression grants everyone the right to say whatever they please, it has no tolerance for radicals and extremists. There is a fine line between standing up for your beliefs and suggesting blatant acts of violence.

A perfect example of where people have crossed this line is the world of Tumblr “feminism”. The microblogging platform has now become a hotbed for misandrists masquerading as feminists, with some demanding the eradication of the “male race” (whatever that means) and the establishment of a matriarchal society. Instead of demanding equal rights for women, they have turned the cause into a sick man-hating/female supremacy campaign.

Another example that is a bit closer to home is the “HK State” movement that has been plaguing the city recently. Good-for-nothing thugs have been graffiti-ing rude messages such as “kill mainlanders” and “assassinate 689” on the walls of public transport terminals, schools, and even government buildings. Though propagating the idea of creating an independent “State of Hong Kong” is, a somewhat tolerable – albeit absurd – act, suggesting that all mainlanders “should die” is certainly not something that we can condone.

We are lucky to be living in a world where everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. However, I firmly believe that any and every form of extremism, be it the radical “feminists”, religious extremists, or political extremists, deserve to be condemned.

As people always say, too much of anything is bad. We need to be careful when we discuss the subjects that we’re very passionate about in order to prevent ourselves from slipping into the mindset of an extremist. It is okay to say things like “I think Taylor Swift sounds like a goat”, but saying “Taylor Swift and her fans need to be thrown into a Siberian gulag” is completely out of line. Your right to assert your views ends where other people’s rights begin.  

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Say it loud, but be civil about it

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2 Comments

kayin.lai.90

02:25am

I agree that "Being able to express your opinion in public is a wonderful thing." But your opinions about Taylor Swift are totally irrelevant.

Taylor Swift makes bad music? Oh but 1.287 millions people in the US decided to buy her new album in the 1st week. The largest sales week for an album since June 2, 2002. 1989 is the Best selling album of 2014. She is the only act to earn three million-selling weeks with an album.

And she has 7 Grammys, 16 AMAs , 7ACMs and 12 Billboard Awards. She is first artist in Billboard's history to be awarded "Woman Of Year" twice. Taylor Swift is the first act to crown the Artist 100, Hot 100 and Billboard 200 in the same week.
Not to mention other cool stuff she did for fans. Invite them to her houses to listen to her album one month before it releases(as known as the 1989 secret sessions). Giving fans presents, spending time on social media, interacting with fans. There are too many. I can point them all out.

You can still say that Taylor Swift sounds like a goat. You can still think starting a haters group would make no harm. You have your right. But I also have my right to express my opinion about this article. Haters keep living in the darkness. And we will be walking in the sunlight.

savina.mo

16:54pm

What's ironic is that the tile of this article is "Say What You Want, But Be Civil About It", but this article wasn't written in a civil manner at all. In fact, the only message that got through was you're a misogynistic "meninist" who hates Taylor Swift and loves Mainland China.
Of course, you have the right to express your views, but it sounds to me you're just hating on Taylor Swift for no good reason. You could say you're just using her as an example and fans are too sensitive and butthurt, but most fans are actually open to all opinions as long as there are valid reasons provided. Otherwise, you'll just sound like a whiny teenager who's so upset with his own life he has to hate on other people's.
Second, I believe you've misunderstood the whole "feminism" thing. True feminists DO believe in achieving equality between the two ****es, not women being superior, nor do they think men suck. There are some extreme self-proclaimed "feminists" who hate men, but they don't represent all feminists.
The next point you presented was also really biased--most HK people supporting "Occupy Central" just want democracy and for the price of flats to drop. Few actually want to "kill Mainlanders and assasinate 689".
By the way, the definition of "freedom of speech" means you can say anything without creating "a clear and present danger". It would have saved you a whole lot of time if you'd taken a look at the dictionary before writing this article.