Monday, 2 June 2014

The Top 5 Things You Should Never Discuss

I was dared.

Somebody who shall remain nameless dared me to do a week of controversial blogs, the 5 most dodgy topics to discuss, and to not hold back. Apparently this is test to see whether I really am balanced in my thinking, or just a cowardly fence-sitter.

An interesting dare, and one that I shall rise to. I have no fear that my opinions will cause earthquakes. If anyone disagrees with me we will both walk away unscathed. It's only opinions, I have no power over anyone's mind, not would I want to have.

And it's not that I have never discussed these before, either. Most people who know me know where I stand on these issues, and if they don't and they are shocked and horrified, I'm sure they'll recover.

One thing about social media and blogging in particular is that we are all intelligent adults capable of reading, forming an opinion, responding to it or choosing not to, and sometimes we do change our minds.

But what are the most taboo issues in polite conversation? There is a general rule never to discuss religion or politics, but I don't think that applies in a blog. In may apply at some sort of neighbour get together coffee morning deal, and it may apply when you've been invited to dinner at the home of someone you know has very differents opinions to yourself.

So, before I write one of these posts, let's look at why we sometimes choose to say nothing.

When I was a child, my mother had a very good friend who I referred to as an aunt. In fact there were several such friends but this lady was the one I liked the best. So, after my mother died we stayed in touch, and when she was visiting friends here in Canada she delighted me by phoning me and saying she was coming for a visit. She brought said friends along with her, and one of them was a retired soldier. I forget his rank but he was an officer.

Don't ask me how but in the course of conversation over dinner I made the massive faux pas of mentioning a recent instance of "friendly fire" and I was quickly put in my place. This gentleman went on a lengthy tirade of how civilians don't understand how difficult it is to identify a target, and made it very plain that he did not place blame anywhere.

Here's the story of the event

I decided to change the subject and move on, but to this day I will never understand how he accepted it so easily. Training? Maybe.

Anyway, the point is that, face to face, sometimes some things are best left unsaid.

Moving back to social media then, there is no possible way of knowing the impact that a topic will have on every individual reading it. In some instances it could cause offence or trigger something that leads to great upset or anger. But you don't have to read it. You can click X and do something else. We are NOT sitting at dinner trying to make polite conversation here.

Disagree with me all you want, no problem at all, and if you want to debate a point, I will be adult about it. Just remember you are not obliged to read any of this, and the world will carry on as normal despite what either of us has to say. I will not censor responses, but know that anyone who resorts to ad hominems against me or any other person commenting, will be judged negatively. This is about issues. Perhaps it's a test of debating skills too.

Right then!

1 comment:

  1. I have seen far too many conversations devolve into name-calling matches just because one person's opinion doesn't mesh with another's. Recently I attempted to debate with a few people over the mental state of the young man who shot up the sorority house in Santa Barbara, and was called a "retard" by someone who claimed to have been the man's friend and knew what was going through his head.
    Nobody can say what's going through anyone's head, no matter how close you are. I chose to withdraw from the conversation because I knew I wouldn't get anywhere.