Self-censorship is something I began thinking about after watching the latest in the Donald Trump debacle. It’s something I wish he would practice. All the references to the size of his hands (and, implied, the size of his…how shall I put this? His dick…) are beyond the pale. Let’s just agree that the size doesn’t matter since HE is a dick and be done with it.
But the fact that he doesn’t seem to comprehend the idea that some things are just not appropriate when aiming for the presidency is truly frightening. I realize that there have been ugly campaigns in many past elections, but this is a new low. And the more vulgar he becomes, the more votes he gets.
I for one am extremely aware of self-censorship. How could I not be? I have three grown children who are constantly reminding me and criticizing me: “Mom, you can’t print THAT! We realize that you consider everything fair game, but you can’t wrote about ALL of our personal stuff!”
“But the stories are so funny…” I’ll argue.
“Doesn’t matter. Some of our stuff is off limits.”
“What stuff? Could we be more specific?”
To be fair, over the years that I’ve been writing about them, their skins have thickened considerably. And with that, my range of topics has expanded. Still, I know there are some lines not to be crossed. And I am likewise careful not to offend The Man In My Life. Or close friends. But pretty much anyone else is a target. If I have any second thoughts or doubts as to the delicate nature of what I’ve written, I will consult with Gill and the party involved. Note I said ‘consult’, not ‘give veto power to’. In that respect, I operate much like the U.S. Congress, currently vowing not to approve (or even consider any Supreme Court nominee put forth by Obama).
I try to be sensitive to people of other ethnicities, religions (as opposed to my lack thereof), sexual orientations and so on. But, just as whites don’t always get when they’re being subtly racist, so I don’t always realize when I’ve been politically incorrect. After all, I was raised in the era when people still told racist and off-color jokes in public, every ethnic group had a ‘label’ (the terms ‘Wop’ and ‘Chink’ being as offensive as ‘Nigger’). It is horrifying to think that my own father was guilty of this. He spent most of his life dealing with people in the construction industry and they are a non-P.C. group if there ever was one. I think that even he would be sorely offended by Donald Trump’s rhetoric. But times are different now and most of the civilized world has moved on and smartened up.
Gill occasionally points out references I make or words I use that might offend some readers. I honestly didn’t know the words were offensive or the story behind their origins. When told, in no uncertain terms, that they are not appropriate, I delete them. I have no wish to offend anyone.
When it comes to my own life, I am just the opposite. No subject is too over-the-top or off-limits. I enjoy pillorying myself and making fun of my faults. I have always disliked stand-up comics who make fun of other people in a vicious, hurtful way and gravitate to comedians who use gentle humor, ridicule themselves, or use their family life as a subject — all the time making obvious their love for said family.(I used to love Bill Cosby until the skeletons jumped out of his closet.)
Humour shouldn’t hurt. In Trump’s case, he IS one big hurt! And really, spraying your audience with water from a plastic bottle to ridicule your opponent isn’t funny. It’s playing in the sandbox with all the other four-year-olds.
And so ends my rant…