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Letter: Some thoughts on the political '-isms'

I’ve heard people complaining about how sports shows should be only about sports.

Reporters/presenters shouldn’t step outside the confines of sports by talking about, or making passing comments concerning politics or the larger cultural context. That sounds reasonable to me.

You want to have a place where you can take a break from the pressures of the world, from judging or being judged and just unwind. Granted, the “real world” is not like that. In the “real world” we really can’t be protected from the tumult of the many tensions and divisions that seem to dominate discourse. In the “real world” there is no warning before a topic, much less so a word, that may make anybody feel “triggered.”

But you want to have a place, or, to put it differently, a space, where you can take a break from that tension. Let’s qualify that space as a somewhere one can feel, if even for a little while, safe, from the less forgiving and allowing nature of the “real world” outside that space. Yeah, that sounds about right. A safe space where there is no fear of possible tension or unpleasant confrontation — just the tacit understanding that we’re there to talk about sports and we’re not going to have to have the conversations that the “real world” compels us to have.

The larger point I can extrapolate from this is that, similarly, let people talk about their feelings in their emotional “safe spaces.” Let people talk about their beliefs, and how they feel oppressed, and how they feel marginalized, and how they feel triggered, in their safe spaces. I don’t think allowing the expression of emotionality — some may say whininess — in these areas that people agree are a “safe space” within the “real world,” threatens anybody’s rationality or suppresses free speech.

On the same vein, I propose an idea that some may deem preposterous: how about people who uphold unpopular beliefs — some may say bigoted — have “safe spaces” of their own to talk freely with the same underlying premise of not being judged? Because I truly believe if you don’t agree with that which someone says, trying to shame them into changing their views accomplishes the exact opposite result.

The cancellation of Milo Yiannopoulos’s performance — because the guy makes an effort to be outrageous, epitome of a provocateur performance — at Iowa State University on the grounds of inappropriate venue security seem to me unfair … or sad, if you consider that terrorist attacks have been threatened on other places where Milo was supposed to perform.

As a reader can infer from reading this, I wouldn’t neatly identify my opinions on either extreme of the lib/con spectrum. In fact, I think such polarity simply doesn’t cut it for me. Like Krishnamurti said, “Identification puts an end to discovery; it is another form of laziness. Identification is vicarious experience, and hence utterly false.”


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