*Strong Language Warning*
So yesterday I touched on some things that I’ve been trying to change lately. I saved this particular thing for its own post because it has really been looming around and I feel like it needs to be addressed. I’ve always been annoyed by total buzzkills. You know, those people who can’t take a joke. Everything you say offends them. Constant political correctness. I hate it. I never wanted to be the nitpicky type, and I certainly don’t consider myself a “snowflake” as the buzzword has become. I’ve always been the type to be able to find humor in anything and to be able to joke in order to ease tensions. Even a “bad” joke that’s a bit distasteful can be funny in the right setting, and when all involved are well aware that it is only a joke. The problem comes in now that I’ve been practicing Buddhism and seeing how so many things are connected.
We say a lot of things in our day to day lives, much of it we don’t even consider or think about. Once you start thinking about the words you say, you start becoming more aware of the consequences of your words. I’m going to use a bit of a silly example here, but it will get the point across. Blonde jokes. Who doesn’t know a blonde joke? And even more, who doesn’t have a favorite blonde joke? I like them, they can be funny. However, let’s say that Bob tells blonde jokes all the time. Every day he has a new one, and every day he tells them. Over time, those jokes start to become Bob’s “normal.” Before you know it, Bob starts treating blonde people he knows in a different way. He doesn’t seem to respect them very much and he’s always poking fun not knowing when to stop. He starts acting like all the blonde people he knows are just like the blondes in his jokes, ditzy, stupid, and uneducated. Now do you see where this is a problem?
I watched a documentary on Netflix called Innsaei and there was a man on the documentary who was talking about how normal violence toward women has become. Video games like Grand Theft Auto glorify such violence, and people line up for days to play games like this. Now I don’t believe that a simple video game will turn you violent or anything like that, but why are we so accepting of violence in this manner? I’m not telling everyone to go burn their game. If it’s just a little stress reliever for you, that’s fine, but you might not be everybody. There are some people who play these games and start to believe what they see, or start to become desensitized by it. I just think we need to take a deeper look into ourselves and see our motivations behind why we do and say what we do. Why do we choose the game where we kill hookers instead of the one where you do something more pleasant? The man in the documentary said that this type of normalization of violence, especially against women, turns into a hate for the feminine. That hate for the feminine then translates into a hate for Mother Nature and therefore our very roots. He has a point there, doesn’t he? These boys especially want to play these games and be these rough and tough characters, then they get older and they want to be rough and tough men with no feelings just doing what they need to do to conquer and win. Often times they don’t care what is destroyed. Look at our political spectrum now: more oil pipelines and less sacred ground, more depletion of natural resources and less investment in renewable energy, more war and less peaceful negotiation. It’s everywhere.
I’ve said it about JT as well. He will jokingly call our cats bitches and sometimes it will produce a sour look from me (usually without me ever realizing I did it) and he wonders why “all of a sudden” I’m “offended.” For one, it’s not so much all of a sudden, as I’ve always kind of disliked it, but I never wanted to be that nitpicky person. Secondly, I’m not offended as much as I just don’t like how normal it’s become to use that word. I also hate that a majority of the derogatory words we seem to use are degrading to the feminine or marginalized groups. Bitch, cunt, hoe, all of these words belittle women down to the very fundamental that the only thing they are good for is their uterus, their bodies, their looks. We don’t think about it, it’s just a word we use…but what are we really doing? I’m not saying to stop using the words, sometimes they really do fit the situation. Sometimes that person is being a total bitch. And that’s ok. But I think we need to take a step back and see how often we are using these words and why instead of just making it the norm.
I’m not telling people to stop joking around. Humor is a wonderful thing. I absolutely love a great joke, and I love the dirtiest and most awful of jokes when they are just that…jokes. The problem is that our language has gone far beyond just jokes and it has become a lifestyle. My blog title says it all, with great freedom comes great responsibility. This includes our freedom of speech. Just because we legally can say something doesn’t always mean we should. It’s so important to think and be mindful of our words so we can be respectful and compassionate toward others. Sometimes the reactions you get in any given situation are simply the product of the language you have used. We can all do better here. I’m not going to get offended, I’m not going to report you to the internet police, and I’m not going to harm you or your property in any way for saying a word that I don’t like. I’m not even going to ask you to stop saying it. I’m just going to ask you, is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
I’ll leave you to make that judgment…