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Amis/Eagleton...again

Theo Hobson has posted his opinions now on the Comment is Free site. He approaches the spat not from whether Amis was/is being racist or Islamaphobic, but on how honest one should be. I admire his attempt at trying to be as middle of the road as possible, thinking that, whilst Amis' comments were objectional, they were also laudable for its psychological honesty. However, Hobson claims that 'in certain contexts, you have no right to this sort of freedom of speech'. Amis, he claims, was naive it was such a sensitive issue. There is, in my ideal world, either free speech, or there isn't. I also believe that one has to deal with the reaction, often knee-jerk. If one cannot comment honestly just because something is deemed sensitive then nothing can ever be achieved. A few sores have to be prodded in order for any wound to improve. And sensitive is the wrong word here, it really is hyper-sensitive, why else would, once the issue is touched upon, so many people scream 'ow!' and hyper-sensitivity is not some noble trait, it is a destructive neurosis.
A respondent to Hobson said that sensible people modify the way they express their opinions in order to avoid causing offence to others, although going on to conclude that 'even those unwilling to temper their language should have the right to say what they want'. Good. Otherwise wouldn't it just be a case of wearing a ballgown and tiara to sing Black Lace's Agadoo-doo-doo in an opera house backed by full orchestra!? Anyway, I don't even think that it is even a case of those who are 'unwilling', but those who are unable to cloak their usual manner of speech in more political and thus often more ambiguous terms. Amis was quite clear though. He has residual 'urges', on which I have already tried to work out my own thoughts upon.

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