I don’t usually stick my nose in matters unrelated to books on this blog. I’ll waffle about video games once in a while if they’re SFF, and I’ll talk about movies, although usually mainly if they’re book adaptations. But I saw this on FB this other day and it made me so many levels of mad and irritated that I just couldn’t stop myself from giving my thoughts about this whole thing. See picture below:
At first it could seem fairly harmless. Basically, avoid what you don’t like and don’t bitch at other people for liking it. But is it that easy? No. And simplifying things in such a way can lead to dangerous follow up sentences as I will demonstrate in a bit. For now, let’s take each sentence about it and have a quick word about why it’s not as simple as that and you’d have to be bloody naive (stupid?) to think it is.
Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t get one.
Siiiiigh. What about: don’t like gay marriage? Get over it? I mean, seriously, what gives someone the right not to like somebody else’s marriage. I would never say I don’t like any type of marriage, because that’s basically like saying you don’t like these people’s rights to happiness. Also, it’s not just a question of don’t get one, when it comes to people who dislike and are against gay marriage, is it? These people will vote against it, bully and harass people trying to get rights for it. They might even attack them. How can an issue that has seen people getting killed, beaten up and jailed for fighting for their rights be simplified in such a way? I don’t think anyone has a right to dislike gay marriage because quite frankly, it’s none of their damned business when two guys or two girls they probably don’t know and have never met get married. So yeah, I think ‘get over it’ is a far better answer to ‘don’t like gay marriage?’. We’re in the 21st century, people, I think we’d have to basically say that people have the right to be narrow minded to say they have the right to dislike something that, ultimately, doesn’t concern them.
Don’t like cigarettes? Don’t smoke one.
I already want to slap the person who has written this. I mean, seriously? Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Don’t smoke one? Wtf???? I hate cigarettes. For no other reason, mind, that they’re unhealthy to the extreme and that they stink. If they didn’t threaten to rot people’s lungs and throat and didn’t want to make me choke and gag everytime I had to pass someone smoking, I wouldn’t give a damn. Hell, if everybody stuck to herbal cigarettes, I’d probably be a smoker myself because, you know, those things don’t taste half bad and aren’t harmful. So no, I don’t think not smoking one when it comes to cigarettes.Why? Because my mum smoked throughout her pregnancy with me and I have a slight, tiny, heart defect as well as sinus problems because of it. She smoked around me my entire life and it never helped my allergy-related asthma when I was ten. The doctor even told her that it probably was one of the reasons my asthma got so bad that I stopped breathing and had to be rushed to hospital unconscious. So yeah, you guys still think it’s as easy as not smoking?
Now think about second hand smoking on a wider scale. Until smoking finally got prohibited indoors, I couldn’t go in some restaurants/cafe because of the sheer amount of people smoking. Second hand smoking is damaging to the lungs, even of someone who has never smoked a cigarette in their lives. Like me. Now give the world cigarettes that won’t be poison for smokers and non-smokers alike and I’ll be just fine with it. But I really, really don’t see why I have to unwillingly breathe in the poison someone else has willingly decided to inhale. I don’t want to have to exit some places whilst having to hold my breath so I don’t have to inhale toxic fumes. It’s not fair on those who, you know, are actually trying to look after their body and lungs…
Don’t like abortions? Don’t have one.
This sort of takes us back to the gay marriage thing. The problem isn’t that people dislike it, it’s what they do because of it. I read this article recently (couldn’t find it again, but this one is pretty much the same) that stated that pregnant women in Texas were now dying at the rate of women in Somalia because of having so many of their rights taken away. One of those rights was abortion. How is that okay? How can we stand there and wave at people who so fervently work against abortion and basically tell them, ‘oh it’s ok not to like abortion, just don’t have one!’ I think they’d laugh in the face of whoever would say that to them. And what if they are married men who will stop their wives get one because of their own belief? What if that abortion would save that woman’s life? What if it’s their fifteen-year old daughter who is pregnant because of rape? Is she supposed to keep the child just because her parents don’t like abortion? Is it still ok then to just tell them not to have one? I don’t personally believe it is. It could destroy their lives. If it’s the woman’s choice, then yes, it’s definitely okay for her to decide what to do with her own body. But only, and I mean only, if it is 100% her choice and hasn’t been affected by peer-pressure, or religious indoctrination or anything else that would take away from her capacity to make her choice as a free, fully informed individual. So…yeah… Not so simple, is it?
Don’t like sex? Don’t do it.
Straight forward enough, I guess. As long as, as above, you’re not going to force anyone into following your beliefs through force, threat, peer pressure, or indoctrination. A little while ago I saw this series of post of girls being photographed in their white wedding-dress-like dresses and their purity rings. In essence, I kinda just shrug at it and ignore that sort of stuff. Not something I would ever have stuck to, not something I think any of my friends would have done, ever (okay except perhaps this one guy at my school who became a priest, but he’s a different kettle of fish entirely). I don’t have a problem with the concept. As long, again, as the girls are fine with it and aren’t doing it because of fear or being shamed, shunned, and sent to Hell when life’s all over. Quite frankly, I’m sure if the Christian god exist he should be a little more worried about, you know, murderers and rapists and whatnot, than about whether a girl and a boy decided to learn to grow up together. But hey, that’s my opinion!
Don’t like drugs? Don’t do them.
Sounds fair enough. Until you start to think outside of the obvious. What about date-rape? That’s a drug. A drug people who don’t like drugs might well be forced to take. And about the effects of drugs on people which might lead them to hurt others? Not so good, is it? Not so simple as not doing them yourself, right?
Take this example: I had once had a friend at the uni in Hull who stayed in dorms. He had a tiny little room there but somehow, we’d manage to fit him, another one of our friends, me and my brother in the room to play D&D until the little hours in the morning before collapsing on the floor to sleep (how the hell did I use to be able to sleep on the floor and be fine???). Now, four people (two of them over 6 feet) + tiny room = lots and lots of heat. So we tended to have the windows open, so we could, you know, not boil. But there was one thing that would mean we would need to close the windows, no matter the temperature. The guy in the room below his smoked cannabis. And tended to have friends over doing the same. So they’d sit in their room, windows wide open, smoking pot and it was all we could smell as soon as they started. To the point that if you didn’t close the windows close enough, you’d start feeling really light headed yourself, and it would trigger violent migraines in our friend who lived there. Fair? I think not.
Much like with cigarettes, it’s the second hand consequences of drugs that make this not as simple as not doing them if you don’t like them. Hell, I’m someone who finds there to be something appealing about the concept of drugs (until I thought of losing control and not being myself and then, no, this stuff is obviously not for me) but I’ll be the first to be aware of all the consequences taking drugs can have.
Don’t like porn? Don’t watch it.
Okay this one I can deal with, as long as it comes with the added conditions of: don’t judge people who like it/watch it/are in it, and don’t force people to agree with you if they don’t (no peer-pressure, peer-pressure is bad).
Don’t like alcohol? Don’t drink it.
Pretty much like the above comment.
Don’t like guns? Don’t buy one.
Oh. This one. It’s the one that made me genuinly explode when I first read it. Now I live in the UK so guns and buying them isn’t something I really have to worry about. I’ve been to a shooting range once (one of my mum’s friends thought it would make a wonderful 18th birthday present), fired the gun once, scared myself half to death and decided ‘never again’. Give me a bow and arrow any day, but a gun /shudders.
Okay, back on topic. Guns are the number one reason I will never, ever visit the USA. (Second reason would be that I’m gay and would be terrified of having the crap beaten out of me for it–it happened to someone I know when he was there with his partner). The notion that people can freely buy guns terrify me. I’ve heard a thousand arguments that it’s people who kill people, not guns, but I want to call it all bullshit. When was the last time you heard about a school-stabbing that resulted in dozens of deaths? (the last incident of this sort I know of was in China and only 3 people died) When was the last time that a shop was held-up by someone armed with a knife? People with guns, kill people. I think put like that it makes more sense.
I remember seeing someone I know posting something on pinterest which was a series of pictures to see if someone was carrying a gun on them, and commenting how she’d have to teach her kids to look out for those things when they were old enough. That genuinely chilled me. The idea that my parents would have had to worry that I might get shot everytime I left the house, just because some maniac managed to get a gun permit. I mean, seriously? And there are parents out there who still lobby on the side of guns. Really? How would you feel if it was your kid instead of a stranger’s kid who got shot one day? (Actually, please, don’t answer that question, cause the last time I saw an answer to that someone was arguing that children should be allowed guns to protect themselves >>;;)
I don’t like guns, at all. As I said, I’m bloody terrified of the things. And honestly, I don’t think not buying one will ever solve it. Because what if someone decides to hold me at gun point? What if someone I know gets shot? My not buying one will not affect what can be done to me and those I love with a gun. I cannot control what people with guns will do, and therefore, much like with cigarettes, it’s not as simple as not buying one. There is so much more involved in this. I think guns should stay in the hands of soldiers and enforcers of the law (and even then…..too many incidents of those being abused to make me feel comfortable with anyone owning a gun). I mean, why can’t we go back to swords? Bloody harder to kill someone from a distance and from behind with those.
Now what possibly bothered most about this list was what could be added to it. How long is it going to take until someone adds to it:
Don’t like PoC? Avoid them!
Yes, because this is the kind of mentality that is so good in the 21st century when instead of excusing bigots and idiots we should be trying to open people’s eyes.
I could carry on the list of how ridiculous the concept of this list is when you start adding things to it, but I don’t think there is much of a point in doing that. I fully agree with not taking people’s rights away but there are limits to what is a right and what isn’t. I can remember a quote from my days studying philosophy that went something like this: One man’s freedom ends where another man’s freedom starts. I’ve forgotten by who it is but I have always thought there is a lot of truth in it, and as we can see, it fits a lot of my above comments on the sentences from that image.
And if you guys don’t agree with me on some of this? Well I’d like to hear why, if I’m honest!