think about it
Your cart is empty

Free speech/ hate speech

I think I was Googling something rather pathetic like ‘why do men lie’ (which speaks volumes either about the men I foolishly fall in love with, or the pitiful level of desperation I’ve succumbed to) when I somehow came across Dick Masterson’s Men are Better Than Women blog.

Now, I’m going on the assumption that this is meant to be ‘satire’ of some kind. Some more Googling has confirmed that Masterson is what is apparently known as a ‘troll’, meaning (according to Encyclopedia Dramatica, for those of us who aren’t quite up on the webspeak): any person who purposely causes controversy in a web community by posting offensive and crude comments or provides advice) and disrupts shit for his own amusement to prove how extremely corrupt our society is. Which doesn’t necessarily clarify whether or not he really believes what he’s saying, or if it’s some kind of twisted joke. But either way, it’s clear that his main goal is to piss people off.

Okay. So I really shouldn’t take the bait and even flinch at post titles such as Every Woman is a Cheating Whore and Women Would Vote for Hitler and Sexual Harassment: Deal With It. I shouldn’t feed into his game by being offended by policy statements such as:

Women are banned from not only because they’re annoying as fuck and the logical knots that I, Dick Masterson, tie around the million viper-like heads of feminism would make their fragile little heads explode — and get glitter and donkey shit all over the place; but women are also banned because they’re fascists.

And I definitely shouldn’t react at all to any of these statements:

I get that this is probably all meant to be a joke. It’s just stupid, and not funny in the slightest- but I get it. I can see how people could find it amusing.

The trouble is, I’d bet anything that there are men out there accessing this site who are taking it somewhat seriously. Even if we assume that Masterson is just playing at being a horrifically ignorant, delusional egomaniac who takes the term ‘chauvinist’ to a whole new level, I feel like there is a real danger of him promoting that sort of thinking amongst his audience.

In one post, Masterson mentions something about the site reaching 200,000 visits that morning. So, he has a huge following listening to everything he is saying- and my guess would be half of them are taking it seriously, and at least another quarter are laughing but secretly half taking it seriously. I’m not saying they’re all outwardly sexist. But often people use humour to mask the fact that they mean it- even if they don’t admit it to themselves.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m proving his point about women being ‘fascists’ who ‘label anything they don’t understand as hate-speech.’ But this is just my suspicion.

Anyway, it got me thinking about that eternal problem of free speech versus political correctness/ basic morality, which becomes even more problematic on the web. On the one hand, if we want the internet to be a democratic space, then we have to allow for the fact that people will have opinions that others consider offensive or hurtful. And in a lot of ways, it’s great that the internet gives people the freedom to express things that might not otherwise be accepted.

But are there limits? Should there be limits? If so, who gets to impose them?

I just wonder, if it was a website called ‘White people are better than black people’, would that be acceptable, even as satire?

I doubt it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *