I was brought up being told that right or wrong and as long as I can back it with a reasoned argument I’m entitled to an opinion.
Which is why I’ve always, as those who know me well know, been willing to discuss most things and express an opinion.
As I get older however I’m beginning to believe that perhaps an opinion on some issues is better kept to yourself.
The problem is that some of the issues are very important and in certain situations need to be discussed which wouldn’t be if people constantly the need to be self-censoring themselves because they are worried they may offend people.
Comedians when asked whether there is anything they wouldn’t joke about usually say no.
Life of course isn’t that simple and the reality for many of us is that there are issues which have clearly been placed in the ‘don’t even think about going there’ box.
An example of which is that I avoid at all costs the subject of what a woman looks like.
Being asked about a woman’s appearance is guaranteed to strike me dumb because no matter what the company, whether male or female I just know it would be wrong for me to comment.
Which incidentally begs the question “Can anyone explain to me the media obsession about what women look like”?
Who cares which and whose designer dress they are wearing and why is it that they seem obsessed by the female celebrities weight?
Recently the renowned international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney attended and made a brilliant speech on human rights and genocide to the United Nations but what did the media concentrate on,
The fact that she was pregnant and had a small bump.
When did it become the case that a woman’s maternity wardrobe and yet to be born child became more important that genocide?
No wonder people curse at the absurdity of it all.
From my position I ask myself why would I and why on earth would any woman want my unsolicited comments on their appearance.
When I was younger it was the accepted wisdom that there was two subjects you should never discuss in company the subjects being politics and religion.
As I’ve got older and perhaps, well at least hopefully a little wiser I’ve found that I increasingly ignore the wisdom and as those who read my blogs know am more than happy to comment about issues impacting on the world including politics and religion, without I hope being offensive.
It was also the perceived wisdom some years ago that as you got older your political views moved significantly towards the right.
It is another of the perceived wisdoms that I have ignored.
I admit that my own political views and principles have especially over the past five years change significantly but I do however think that it isn’t intelligent or wise to push your political principles onto others.
In the same way I cannot for the life of me see the point in being discriminatory, cruel or make crass statements just to get a cheap laugh.
If you don’t understand what I am talking about Id recommend you watch Prime Minister Questions from the Houses of Parliament.
Our’ democratically’ elected Government, there to do what is best for the Country!!! – It really is pathetic.
The problem is people don’t see it because in trying not to be something they invariably set themselves up to be just the opposite.
One of the most frequent answers to any question on immigration put to those who campaigned to leave the European Union usually started with “I’m not a racist, but…..”, the rest of the sentence of course is lost because anyone who starts off with “I’m not a…” is most certainly just the opposite.
A major problem of talking about politics and/or religion is that some in the party you’re with become detached and isolated from the group.
It is very possible that an individual can be lonely and detached within a crowd and is something people for some unaccountable reason don’t always recognise as they become immersed in a conversation.
What do you do when someone goes quiet because they don’t know how or can’t contribute to the conversation?
Perhaps the first step is to recognise that your obsession isn’t shared by everyone so of course it is right to change the subject and find or at least try to find subjects that everyone can join in with.
The problem in a world that is dominated by instant and constant social media is how do you avoid issues that may offend?
One that I always avoid like the plague is expressing an opinion on people that those I’m with might know.
Of course it is only natural when mutual colleagues and friends are mentioned to acknowledge it but to use it as a chance and opportunity to talk, OK let’s call it by its real name, gossip, about them is definitely a ‘leave me out of this’ area.
This is even more importance if the conversation turns to discussing their shortcomings, relationships or appearance.
I always think when I see it taking place that I wonder what they say about me and mine when I’m not there and the. Come to the conclusion that the people who come out of it really badly are those doing the gossiping.
Which is why I believe that people need to think about what, where and to whom they are going to express an opinion.
I’m in no way religious but in Ecclesiastes is the famous line that there is
‘A time to keep silence, and a time to speak’;
Perhaps the 21st Century version would be
‘A time to speak but also a time to know when to shut the f*** up’.