I usually steer well clear of talk of hot button issues. This is a beer blog after all and I prefer to talk about the much happier world of what’s inside my pint glass rather than the world outside the bar. Which can get too depressing and crazy at times.
You don’t see me poking fun at religion/politics/name your bruise because primarily it is not my nature to be combative and secondarily, others puncture the hypocrisy much better than I can (see Stewart, Colbert and Oliver).
Another one of the reasons is that the interwebs is not the best forum for making my point because the online community thinks that dialogue and debate are dirty words and trolling and unfriending are the norm. Now I feel that I need to add my voice.
The world seems caught in an endless loop of “I’m right but more importantly, you’re wrong” mentality. Hate and snark are broadcast far and wide. And by far the worst aspect of this ease of viral expression is that people begin to not only love their opinion and their way of life so much that they start to think they ARE the way and the life. For everyone.
This is not a response to someone trying to create a comment tempest in a blog post. I wish it were solely about me. No, this is due to events, most recently in Paris, where writing and drawing have ended in gunfire. Some are so thin skinned as to think that a cartoon will topple an entire belief system. And it is not only religions that seem to be in the vanguard of easily offended. It seems to be an everyday occurrence that someone has to be angered by an off the cuff remark or prepared statement.
What I want is to take a (paraphrased) saying from writer Lew Bryson that personal preference is not a universal truth and apply it here.
Everyone who wants to hold an opinion, can do so. But that is what it remains. An opinion. Whether it be held by one staunch advocate or the multitudes. And here is the corollary: My views are not wrong if they are in opposition to you and your said staunch opinion.
It seems simple on the face of it. You don’t impinge on my beliefs and I will return the favor. But it seems that with increasing frequency that opinions are being labeled as facts/truth, and that those who dare to question, satirize or dismiss are in the wrong. And not only are they wrong, they deserve to be punished as well.
For beer example, I can “not like” a beer or brewery for whatever reasons that I use to make that decision. I can write, photograph, draw or video my opinion and all can comment. Everyone else can love that brewery and I am fine with that. But that love cannot be considered a fact. It is personal preference and nothing more.
You can be hurt that I do not share your view. I may very well offend either on purpose or by accident even in the relatively safe realm of craft beer, but, the first response should be opening a dialogue to talk. It may end in disagreement but at least there would be an opportunity for a friendly resolution. With at least grudging respect of frenemies as a goal.
I have strong opinions. Some that I won’t back down off my high horse from. But I will listen to you and the horse you rode in on. I hope that I will at least learn something and I do frequently change my mind. Flip flopping is not a negative to me. Entrenchment seems to be en vogue in these times though and it saddens me.
And it is maddening when people use the 1st Amendment as a shield for hate/fear/anger but that is what libel and slander are around for, as a legal check against the worst offenses. But the most potent weapon is to listen and then rebut. If your example falls on deaf ears and inaction, then walk away content that at least you tried to elevate the conversation instead of denigrating it.
But everywhere I turn, it seems the more we can communicate to others the less we communicate with each other. I will reiterate that everyone has the right to their opinion and the right to express it without fear of being pounced upon by those who have not learned how to disagree like a human with a soul.
I know this is Pie in the Sky talk. Might even be more chum for trolls. And thank, ahem, God that extremists don’t drink alcohol or are regular beer blog readers. Craft beer may not be the 99% asshole free community that it once was, but the still high percentage that is can show religions, governments and the like how to behave civilly.
Peel the Label is an occasional series where I opine about the big picture of craft beer and blogging without photos, videos or links.