Sunday, December 13, 2020

Redux on my "Privilege of Being Listened to"


Selma, AL 2014

We hear a lot today about people being unheard, not being listened to.  Indeed, “rioting is the language of the unheard”.

Yet, I have created minor uproars with a past essay (from 2005), “The Privilege of Being Listened To” (recent link from 2018 repost). The title of my third book (2014) reads “Free speech is a fundamental right, but being listened to is a privilege”.

I probably should call it a “conditional privilege”.  Rather like post privileges in Army Basic (in 1968).

What I meant by “privilege” was the capability to post something provocative, with no cost or competition to “get published” (as what that used to mean before the late 1990s) and be found by search engines or go viral on social media going around the world.

Bur we are also seeing demands from the “Left” that people meet their demands for reparative “allyship” before being allowed to be heard as individuals.  We see attacks on Section 230 from both sides, particularly because it seems to siphon individualized speech away from “legitimate” and necessary organizing.

You can see a reaction to this essay from a reader in Australia back in 2007 here.

If you look at a comment in June 2016 from “Carballosa” to Timothy B. Lee (now at Ars Technica) on his own site, you will see similar sentiment.

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