This is going to be a difficult week on The Vile Blog. I've decided it is Freedom of Speech week, and I am going to be as obnoxious as I can, just to exercise my rights.
Actually, I am more likely to be looking apologetic and saying that while I disagree with a particular opinion, I defend the right to say it.
Let's start with something easy. The recent announcement of a new set of awards for LGBTQI people was heralded with... a bunch of models in black-face.
There are several immediate responses to this, the most obvious being... WTF? Seriously?
Then there is the objection that black-face, which directs mockery at Black and Ethnic Minority groups, is so unpleasant that it really ought never to appear.
Then there is the problem that these awards seem to be an attempt by a corporation to use Pride as a vehicle for self-promotion.
Unfortunately, I have been saying that freedom of speech is absolute. Does this mean it is okay for ICON to act racist?
I'm not interested in counter-arguments that claim black-face isn't racist. I'll accept that Molly Dancers black up because their origins are in bothering the local gentry - it is disguise rather than imitation. But black-face is really offensive, as it comes from a mockery of African Americans, not a loving celebration of their songs and culture.
But I don't think ICON actually thought about what they were doing - which is all the more reason to stop doing it. I'm lucky enough to believe that freedom of speech extends to encouraging criticism, and better minds than mine have told them to pack it in.
Odd as it sounds, there is something horrible in thoughtless racism that ever the antics of those clowns in the USA who waved Confederate Flags at Obama can't manage. The KKK hold racist opinions, and it's better in than out, where it can be challenged and condemned. All this kind of publicity seeking does is evolve an environment where nothing is held in respect.
So a great start to freedom of speech week: a problem I can't answer. The problem here isn't the lack of freedom of speech, but a surfeit.