to what sort of review culture should Canada aspire?

Posted by Daniela Elza on Jul 13 2012

I am glad Jan Zwicky is taking the time to respond further and address the issue of critical culture in Canada. As well as speaking to the recent questions raised by the nature of the negative review etc. Here are more links in my post on reviews and views for more background of this discussion.

I have lived with the following conundrum for a while now:
when I believe that the right thing to do is not to respond and to feed the troll, when friends too advise me to take the moral high ground and rise above a situation and not say anything (because, really, what good will that do? and is it worth my time?), how does one then distinguish between silence that is moral and silence that is due to having been bullied into a corner?

In the piece published in the National Post Afterward section Zwicky says:

But no one, at any point, has questioned anyone’s legal right to say what is on their mind; no one has suggested sanctions, nor recommended external constraints. What has been questioned is how we ought to exercise that right, how we might best understand the responsibilities that go with it. Precisely because freedom of speech is fundamental to a just social order, I wish to see that freedom embraced with passionate respect. When it is used to attack civil discourse with invective, insult, and condescension, it is dishonoured. When it is used as an excuse for self-indulgent disregard of others’ interests, it is demeaned. The legal freedom is indeed without limit: for this very reason, it confronts us with choices about how, as mature, compassionate adults, we wish to behave.

Yes, freedom of speech is a great thing. Still, we have to pass further laws against hate speech. Why? Magazines calling for submissions on a regular basis in their guidelines state openly clearly and emphatically they will not publish certain things. Shall we go after them for putting a damper on your freedom of speech?
Even a jounral called
Sucker WILL NOT publish anything that is gratuitously violent, homophobic, or hateful. So don’t even try it.

I could endlessly give examples here. But you get the picture.
Because there are limits how far one can take such freedoms. And freedoms come with responsibilities. Yes, you heard it— r e s p o n s i b i l i t y: an inconvenient thing for the unscrupulous. Just as the freedom to swing your arm ends where my nose begins.

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