The Freedom of Speech, Liberty not Licence and is Post-modernism Funny?

“There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false. A thing is not necessarily either true or false; it can be both true and false.” ― Harold Pinter

Has the postmodern era made us lose sight of what was originally meant by the freedom of speech, do we now see it as a licence to say whatever we please, insulting whomsoever we chose, in the most offensive and degrading ways possible, whenever and wherever we please, no longer appreciating the freedom of speech for the liberty it really is?

Even the most liberal defender of the freedom of speech recognizes the need to limit the very freedom for which they advocate. For example advertisements can’t be intentionally misleading, the freedom does not extend to state secrets, nor to the publishing of material of a sexual nature of children. All of these seem reasonable with perhaps one exception, who decides on what is and what isn’t a state secret? For a long time most western societies have operated comparable policies and approaches to the freedom of speech (perhaps with the exception of the former eastern bloc) and until recently with little call for concern, so what’s happened to upset the freedom of speech apple cart? Why is it that in recent times we have heard our producers of entertainment, especially comedy, offending various groups of people living within our societies? My answer may appear over simplistic but for me the growing pervasiveness of postmodernism in western thought has led to the boundaries of decency to be pushed and the bar for the bar to be lowered a forever deepening abyss of self it takes just too much god damn effort to raise the bar, what is most commonly done is to find ever more redundant, purposeless, verging on nihilistic ways of ridiculing popular beliefs.

“The Postmodernists’ tyranny wears people down by boredom and semi-literate prose.”
If you could define postmodernism then it wouldn’t be postmodernism as one of its characteristics is it being undefinable, something that can’t be easily classified, labeled and put on a shelf to gather dust and eventually metastasizes into a benign lump of nihilistic tissue.

Postmodern humour responds to and references the fears, fixations, frameworks and technologies which underpin our postmodern existence.

BLAIR SCOTT FRANKLYN The University of Waikato 2006

Franklyn’s observation on the characteristics of postmodern humour are apt as it has been through humour that the freedom of speech has most commonly been put to the test in the age of postmodernism.

“I am simply not interested, at this point, in creating narrative scenes between characters.”

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery – celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from – it’s where you take them to.”

[MovieMaker Magazine #53 – Winter, January 22, 2004 ]”
Jim Jarmusch

What postmodernism gives us instead is a multicultural defense for male violence – a defense for it wherever it is, which in effect is a pretty universal defense.

 But What About the Chihuahuas?
TurboRoo, Two-Legged Chihuahua, Gets New Wheels Thanks To A 3D Printer!

Chihuahuas to remake the classic movie ‘The Usual Suspects’.
“The state must declare the child to be the most precious treasure of the people. As long as the government is perceived as working for the benefit of the children, the people will happily endure almost any curtailment of liberty and almost any deprivation.”
On the other hand, it may be that Williams’ chronic depression — initially blamed — is what caused him to hang himself with a belt in his Tiburon, Calif., home in August.

Generation [X] a Generation of Ambiguity


Generation [X]

I am a member of generation X and I’m guessing if you’re reading this then so are you.

We were born between 1961 and 1981. We are the babies of the Baby Boomers, sometimes charmingly referred to as the Baby Busters. We are the fallout from the summer of love, the detritus left behind on the floor after Woodstock, the children of mothers who took just a little too much LSD and forgot to take their new contraceptive pills. Every good party must come to an end, and that end is often a regretful hangover, or in this case us, Generation X.

What are we, what are our characteristics? Commonly used vocabulary attached to Generation X’ers is cynical, apathetic, skeptical, bitter, grunge, goth, consumerism, globalization, conspiracy theorists. What defines us though is that we were the first generation to experience the draw backs of modernity. Mass production, mass consumerism, mass marketing, mass media, all were welcomed with euphoria by the Baby Boomers, but through more cynical eyes all we saw was a post-modern hell. To us it presented a treadmill of consumerism that you had to run like crazy just to stay on but got you nowhere. Sure you were allowed to buy loads of shit along the way, but you never got any further down the road, it never promised to satisfy us like it mesmerized our parents.

Generation X’ers have long been accused of being lazy, underachievers. This criticism seems to be supported when we are also referred to as the McJobbers. A reference to many of the generation being well educated but content to take menial work. I just see this again as being our refusal to get sucked into running in the wheel of greed. What’s wrong with making fries whilst pondering the nature of the universe?

By the 1980’s The Baby Boomers had grown up to become Yuppies or if they were still suffering acid flashbacks they became New Agers. The Yuppies were sold this way of life by the two most iconic post war politicians, Ronald Regan and Margaret Thatcher. Under their command both the U.S and the U.K lived by Gordon Gekko’s mantra ‘Greed is Good’. Everything the Baby Boomers did was to excess, drugs, greed, sex, consumerism. Whilst they put man on the moon Generation X’ers had the Challenger disaster. They had Martin Luther King and the Black Civil Rights Movement, Generation X’ers had Ricky Martin and Black Monday. While the Baby Boomers were the first generation to enjoy the 24 hour convenience of 7/11, Generation X’ers had the inconvenience of 9/11 to deal with.

What else was there left for Generation X’ers  to do other than adopt a nihilistic persona and to reconcile that everything was bollocks. And how was it fair that our parents took all the drugs, cavorted naked at orgies but the AIDS agenda was pushed on us. Not only did we inherit the hangover of their alcoholic, psychotropic drug rampages, we were now being asked to deal with their sexual diseases.

I might be coming across bitter, many Generation X’ers are bitter because we’ve got so many reasons to be. It’s like we turned up half an hour after the end of an enormous party, and who wouldn’t feel a little put out by missing a whole season called the summer of love. I can assure anyone at best I’ve experienced a week of love, but those baby booming bastards had an entire summer.

It’s too late for us Generation X’ers to make up for lost time. The ship has sailed and we must content ourselves with iPhones and mediocrity. How history will judge us only time will tell, but one thing I do know is that whatever the verdict, Generation X’ers are unlikely to give a shit.