Saturday, 14 April 2012

FREE SPEECH and OUTRAGE (2)

FREE SPEECH and OUTRAGE 2

This three part series is about speech (however egregious).  It is not about actions.

Venezuelan born baseball coach Ozzie Guillen  is in trouble down in Miami where he coaches the Miami Marlins.

He is (according to the press) notoriously loose lipped. That (maybe) being so he has caused a stir as a result of an interview he gave to Time magazine.

According to the magazine Mr. Guillen said that “he loves Fidel Castro and respects him for staying in power so long”.

This was a red-meat statement for Miami’s politically powerful and reactionary Cuban-American population, members of which did not exactly bray “off with his head” – but did call for his firing.

The team owners have suspended him for five games.

Mr. Guillen claims that “Time” misquoted him.  He adds that he was thinking in Spanish and speaking in English, and that his words came out all wrong.

.“Time” is sticking by its story.

(Wouldn't any decent reporter have asked “did you really mean to say that Mr.Guillen?”)

(Has it occurred to anyone other than I that Mr. Guillen may have been “looking out” for his Venezuelan family members, knowing that any anti-Castro comment on his part might have been used against them by the Castro ally and repressive semi-dictator Hugo Chavez),

The point I am trying to make (as with yesterday’s blog about the Fabrice Muamba/Liam Stacey story) is that “outrage” is all too readily manufactured about “speech”.

In a free society we should be able to resist bad, stupid, or ugly speech with gracious, truthful and lovely speech.

It is only in “less than free” societies that stupid speech (such as by Liam Stacey and Ozzie Guillen) is punished.

Punishment should always be reserved for actions, and never for words.

There will be more on this from me tomorrow (and you may well be shocked!)

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