If I’m well informed, police officers tell an arrestee, he/she/they have the right to remain silent. Fair enough, but perhaps superfluous. Everybody has the right to remain silence. Or actually, in some cases, people has the duty to just shut up.
Yesterday, I saw a documentary called 15 minutes of shame. If you haven’t seen the documentary, then I’d recommend you to see it. I won’t spoil anything, so don’t worry.
The documentary starts with Monica Lewinsky, telling about her story, and how she experienced, that suddenly the entire world had an opinion about her. The day before, she was a nobody to most people on this planet, but at once, as a lightning from a clear sky, she was on the front page of nearly any paper in the whole world! And not only that, everybody seemed to know exactly who she was, how she thinks, what she feels, her interests and whatnot. And possibly obsolete to tell: the words about her weren’t flattering. But what in the whole flying world gave anyone, both journalists and non-journalists, the right to write only ONE WORD about Miss Lewinsky?
I know, there are many people bleating about the freedom of speech. And I’ve been writing about that several times. I probably will write about it again, and again, and again. But this has nothing to do about the freedom of speech. Because freedom of speech doesn’t mean you can talk (or write) derogatory about others.
We accept the truth as it is being presented to us
I remember when I was about 13 years old. Not far from where I lived, there was this man, who was a talkshow host and anchorman in The Netherlands. He had a son, who lived partly with him. And when he was with his dad, I played very often with him. In The Netherlands, there are a few tabloids, and sometimes, when waiting at the dentist’s clinic, I looked in those magazines. And one day, I read about my neighbor, who allegedly had started a relationship with a known actress.
You may call me naive, or stupid, or just young. Ofcourse, I could’ve known, that a tabloid not necessarily speaks the truth. Especially (and I remember that very well), if there are two pictures: one of the TV host and one of the actress — they were not been sighted nor were posing together on a picture. Still, I just assumed, the TV host and the actress were a couple. As I’ve said many times: “we accept the truth as it is presented to us”
So, I asked my friend if his dad’s new girlfriend was nice. “He doesn’t know his girlfriend at all”, he replied, with a little smile on his lips. He’d’ve learned from a young age, that a famous dad will be in the spotlights of tabloids, spouting nonsense. He got used to it, he lived with it.
Now that I am thirty (plus) years older, I am fully aware the world is full of fake news, gossip, rumors, misinformation, and so forth. That (awareness) is one of the additional benefits, I left the social media.
If you knew my full name, you’d be able to find a profile of me on Facebook, but you easily would see, it hasn’t been updated since 2014. I do have another profile, that I use to manage my company’s business page on Facebook, but I don’t use that profile for other purposes. I even might have a profile on LinkedIN, since I sometimes get information from companies within my fields of interest that have searched me. But I don’t visit social networks (unless you’d consider Medium as a social network). Simply because not visiting limits the amound of exposures to bullshit. Because I don’t want to look into the social mirror anymore.
While nearly the entire world was in lock down due to the Covid 19 pandemic, I heard my wife many times complaining about people blabbing about unfounded allegations on vaccinations, the origin of the virus, governments that want to control the people of the world, Bill Gates who wanted to decrease the world population or whatever rubbish. I very rarily saw some of it myself.
Not to put halo on my head. It’s not a thing, I managed to achieve. It’s an advantage, from the fact that I left social media: I got a very clearer view on reality, just because I am less susceptible for junk. That puts me on a distance. Ofcourse, there are many disadvantages, but I value the benefits much higher. I do not envy (at all) those people, who feel the need to fill their Instagrams and Snapchats with pictures of what they just ate, the selfies with the VIP’s they’ve seen, their short-hand reactions on unconfirmed information they’ve heard, and their uncontrolled exhausts of mud and shit. Not at all. Actually, I despise those people. Many of them just should learn to keep their mouth shut. To keep things, they don’t know anything about, out of their f******g mouths.
Uh-Oh! Now I might be paraphrasing an actor, who hit another VIP. And that undoubtly means I endorse that actor. Or … perhaps not? See, that is what I mean: I haven’t been endorsing Will Smith, but by using the same words as he did, some might think I do. I neither condemned him. Does that mean something? No. No, no no. Please, people, don’t draw a conclusion and spout it out.
A few weeks ago, I read an article here at Medium, about LGBTQI+ (or whatever characters are the correct term). The following is an excerpt from our brief communication:
By not choosing a side, you’re choosing a side.
I won’t go out on the streets to demonstrate for equal rights.
… you declaring to the world that you support but wouldn’t “demonstrate” for equality — is just proof you’ve never been mistreated for something you cannot change and didn’t choose.
So yes, you chose a side.
Sexual abuse by two brothers [?]
The author drew a conclusion without knowing anything about me. This is not about me, I don’t care how others see me or not see me. But it bothers me, that people simply cannot keep their mouth shut (or fingers from their keyboards), and keep blowing other people’s lives up.
I read once a little anecdote in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. He wrote:
I was riding a subway on Sunday morning in New York. People were sitting quietly, reading papers, or resting with eyes closed. It was a peaceful scene. Then a man and his children entered the subway car. The man sat next to me and closed his eyes, apparently oblivious to his children, who were yelling, throwing things, even grabbing people’s papers.
I couldn’t believe he could be so insensitive. Eventually, with what I felt was unusual patience, I turned and said, “Sir, your children are disturbing people. I wonder if you couldn’t control them a little more?”
The man lifted his gaze as if he saw the situation for the first time. “Oh, you’re right,” he said softly, “I guess I should do something about it. We just came from the hospital where their mother died about an hour ago. I don’t know what to think, and I guess they don’t know how to handle it either.”
Suddenly, I saw things differently. And because I saw differently, I felt differently. I behaved differently. My irritation vanished. I didn’t have to worry about controlling my attitude or my behavior. My heart filled with compassion. “Your wife just died? Oh, I’m so sorry. Can you tell me about it? What can I do to help?” Everything changed in an instant
If you don’t know the whole story behind something or someone, then shut the f*** up. Or at least: don’t include names, recognizable situations or locations, or other facts that can identify people or organizations, that are directly involved. It’s not up to you to “correct” them, or put them in a pillory. You really have the right to remain silent. And sometimes, it’s your duty.