Friday, 25 January 2013

Tolerance, Alecia Simmonds-Style

The other day (22 January ) on that prime source of modern wisdom, Daily Life, Alecia Simmonds asked ‘Do jerks deserve free speech?’ The jerks in question were Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt, and anyone else who Alecia Simmonds didn’t happen to agree with, or particularly like, regardless of how little she actually knew about them and what their arguments were.
I read the article and decided that Simmonds was in fact a prime example of a jerk herself, having completely missed the point of Bolt’s prosecution and the charges which were laid against him.
Simmonds seems to live in fear. For example, she is very keen that all Australian women be protected by law - as they are in Tasmania - from people who use terms like 'whore' and 'dyke'. I'm assuming Simmonds was out of the country during the whole SlutWalk thing, and has not recently been invited to a Dyke March, or ever ridden on the back of a Harley with Dykes on Bikes. (It's very puzzling; those chicks don't look scared to me.)
I have no trouble with Simmonds expressing her opinion and being given the freedom in which to do so. This includes the fact that, at the end of her article, she called for Jones’ and Bolt’s imprisonment for misogyny and racism.  I thought this was very moderate, given the rest of the article; I was ready for public impaling at least, and possibly their heads displayed outside the High Court pour encourager les autres.
Under Roxon's new legislation, it is sadly likely that people like Alecia Simmonds - an educated, white, middle-class writer - will be considered 'reasonable people' whose opinion we should heed when determining the level of 'offence' given by particular terms and phrases.
And this - and more of the same, right down to the calls for jail terms - is what we have to look forward to, if Roxon’s bill becomes law.

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