A Long, Rambling Piece About Free Speech

This article was originally meant to stem from an article published on the subject of free speech by Pointandclickbait.com. Then I realised they’re a parody website. Oops.

Anyway, this shocking revelation doesn’t entirely make my original article redundant, all I’ll do is merely adapt it to focus on another subject, separate from the fictional Brent Manning.

So first off, I found out the internet had another meltdown over the subject of free speech yesterday, when Blizzard announced that they would be removing the Tracer’s victory pose after a fan complained that it sexualised and had nothing to do with the actual character.

Now I’m not actually going to delve into that utter mess, I’m merely going to sit back and be somewhat amused at the people getting mad at it (which is both sides, by the way). While this is mainly because I haven’t actually played Overwatch, I also don’t have any comments to make that’re relevant to this particular instance.

I do however, have some brief comments to make about overall free speech. These aren’t groundbreaking by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m not claiming they are. I just feel that some “free speech zealots” need educating on the matter.

The main issue that these “free speech champions” forget about is a simple one: the free speech they’re so devout in protecting applies to everyone, not just them and those that share their views.

This is the main reason that I can’t stand Colin Moriarty. A champion of free speech, Moriarty frequently voices the opinion that he should basically be allowed to say whatever he wants because of free speech, which I happen to agree with.

However Moriarty forgets that this then also means that his critics get to voice their opinions on him, also because of free speech. He utterly failed to grasp this issue a few months back on the GameOverGreggy show, during which he virtually stated that he should be free from criticism for what he says, because free speech.

Moriarty painfully forgets that free speech applies to all, not just you, and not just those that agree with you. In my years writing online (and I’ve quite a few under my belt) I’ve never once deleted an unsavory comment on my work, because if I should be allowed to voice my opinions through said work, then everyone should be allowed to comment on my work.

I truly believe that free speech helps all, no matter the situation. If it’s offensive garbage that someone’s perpetuating (read: Trump supporter), then leave it to society to correct them, and don’t construe the law to cut them out from the debate entirely.

As previously mentioned, I’ve been writing for a fair few years now, and I can’t imagine where I’d be if I didn’t pay any attention to the comments and criticism my work often receives.

If I didn’t, it’d be like going to school and not listening to feedback from teachers. My work would still be a garbled heap of junk (well maybe it still is, but that’s for you to decide, dear reader), and I’d never have the possibility of improving my writing.

I pretty much read every comment my work receives, and while I hope desperately for the comments section to be devoid of trolls, I also hope that people genuinely critique my work, providing me with valuable feedback on which I can build.

I published a piece a few days ago on the Destructoid community blog (I kinda like it over there) which focused on what makes a villain great. The comments section for that article is now filled with people giving their opinions on what makes a villain great to them, which is exactly what I was hoping for.

There are several new points of view that popped up in the aforementioned comments section that I hadn’t even thought of when writing my original article. For example, I completely missed the cold, cunning demeanor that made Far Cry 4’s Pagan Min so brutally fantastic.

If I didn’t respect the fact that free speech applies to all, then I wouldn’t ever have bothered reading the feedback that my work receives and I wouldn’t be able to build upon it.

However, I also respect the fact that the internet is a decidedly vicious place, not just for those that don’t like a particular victory pose in Overwatch. Which is why I’m also perfectly happy to admit that no one should be forced to endure a berating from internet trolls.

In a perfect world, everyone would be civil and understanding to one another, but to say that we don’t live in a perfect world is putting it lightly. So I’m perfectly happy to endure the criticism that my work faces, but I can absolutely understand if others don’t pay attention to the comments section on their work.




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