I was going to make a post this morning after I’d read that some celebrity I’d never heard of is garnering much disapprobation as a result of trashing Islam for Ramadan on Twitter. I ran it over in my mind and soon realised that it would be very long, so I didn’t; I undercoated some skirting boards instead. (Painting down to a carpet without painting the carpet is a proudly held skill of mine.)
(Thinks. Maybe I can jump to the bottom line. OK, let’s do that.)
The nub of the issue was two questions:
1. Where should the line be drawn between freedom of speech (which we in the west guard assiduously, and with much justification in my opinion) and unwonted denigration of somebody else’s treasured belief system (which is merely saying something hurtful for no good reason.) I have my own view, but I’m too small to count.
2. If you feel, maybe not unreasonably, that you need to criticise a belief system as big as Islam, is Twitter the right place to do it? I think not. The subject is far too emotive and needs a much broader platform to allow for a balanced and reasonably argued view. Unfortunately, tweeting is what celebrities do these days; I suspect that most of them are afraid of getting lost on broader platforms.
Right, I think that will do.
* * *
While I’m in the swing of writing, though, I wonder whether I should mention that this was one of Sandra Walklate’s favourite songs. I had it among my collection of Beatles albums, and we used to sit in my bedroom and listen to it. (Believe it or not, that’s all we did in my bedroom.)
Sandra was my first love. We were about the same age as Romeo and Juliet at the time, and when she went on holiday with her parents she gave me a scented handkerchief to keep under my pillow while she was away. How goddam sweet is that?! The tide of circumstances was a joyous, sunlit ride in those days. I think I’ll get drunk.