Moral policing – When it is right? When is it wrong?


The Slate’s Culture Gabfest

This week’s Slate Culture Gabfest opened up a very interesting thought for me. In this episode they take up two current cultural phenomena – the Harlem Shake and the Oscars.

The Harlem Shake first. I have to admit that my first encounter with this bizarre form of dance(?) was when I headed off to YouTube do so some

The Harlem Shake

research to write this article. After having watched about five videos, I cant see what the fuss is all about. It just seems to be videos of people suffering from electrocution set to some dance beat. Anyways, this rant is not about the dance form called the Harlem Shake, but about the conversation on Slate’s Culture Gabfest about the Harlem Shake. Now, a disclaimer here – I love the Culture Gabfest. I listen to it regularly and on most weeks I agree with almost everything they say. This week, I agreed with them on almost nothing. Coming back to the discussion on the Culture Gabfest about the Harlem Shake, where they felt the dance was racist in nature because of the reference to Harlem in the title.

The next topic on the show was the Oscars, and how sexist it was. Again, I never watched the Oscars, I gave that silly habit up long, long ago. This year’s show seems to have been compered by a teenager with raging hormones who found women’s boobs a good enough subject to write a song about it and sing it as the opener for a show being beamed into countless homes. Again it might be in bad taste. It does objectify women.

But my question is why? I mean, why do we have to feel insulted because of a word or a song?

Why have we, as a people, lost the ability to laugh at something funny and walk away when it gets obnoxious or tasteless?

Why does everything HAVE to be right and wrong?

Why cant we accept that there will be things in this world that we don’t like?

It is time we grow up and open our eyes. There is always going to be something, somewhere that hurts somebody’s sentiments or sensibilities. There is no need to make a hue and cry about it. Instead, walk away, and let the other side have their say. They may not be right, but they have the right to say it anyways. Because if we don’t give them the right to say what’s on their mind, we take away our right to do so too.

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