Augustman - - Editor’s Note -

LAST MONTH I wrote a piece about how peo­ple have be­come so pre­oc­cu­pied with being po­lit­i­cally cor­rect that it was killing any sort of opin­ion. To my sur­prise, I found an un­ex­pected ally in one of Hol­ly­wood’s liv­ing greats: Clint East­wood. Un­for­tu­nately, we were com­ing at the is­sue from ut­terly op­po­site ends.

East­wood, a long­time Repub­li­can and self­avowed Trump sup­porter spoke at the GOP Con­ven­tion, liken­ing anti-Trump Repub­li­cans and Democrats to peo­ple who were ex­ces­sively con­cerned with play­ing and say­ing things by the book. He should, how­ever, stick to di­rect­ing and pro­duc­ing ma­cho movies, which he’s much bet­ter at than par­tic­i­pat­ing in pol­i­tics. (Sir, with all due re­spect to a Hol­ly­wood leg­end, but even your style of movie di­rec­tion needs to pick up pace.)

So while it’s true that many of us are too hung up on being po­lit­i­cally cor­rect th­ese days. it can be eas­ily rec­ti­fied with­out get­ting crude, cruel or slan­der­ous. Sug­gest­ing that a pres­i­den­tial elec­tion is as sim­ple as peo­ple being afraid of speak­ing the truth in or­der to be con­sid­er­ate is fool­ish, to say the least. And look­ing for the sim­plest, Oc­cam’s Ra­zor style so­lu­tion to com­plex so­ci­o­log­i­cal, eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal is­sues is equally dumb.

As an oc­ca­sional pub­lic speaker, I’ve found that giv­ing an hon­est opin­ion in front of an au­di­ence, how­ever in­ap­pro­pri­ate it may be, is not an is­sue as long as that opin­ion can be jus­ti­fied and qual­i­fied. It’s the same code of ethics that’s prac­tised in most pub­lish­ing houses, and if we do make a mis­take, we apol­o­gise for the er­ror.

East­wood made a fair point ‒ the sort that Colin Quinn makes in the form of a joke in his standup special, Un­con­sti­tu­tional. Quinn typ­i­cally starts by telling an anec­dote and ends up apol­o­gis­ing for the pa­tri­archial world­view he’s ad­vo­cat­ing. Of course, the for­mer SNL mem­ber has cre­ative li­cence and his po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect­ness is rarely if ever taken se­ri­ously.

It is more fright­en­ing when a pub­lic will­ingly ig­nores facts in favour of handed-down, frien­dad­vo­cated “news” cir­cu­lated on plat­forms that aren’t nec­es­sar­ily jour­nal­is­tic in na­ture. Add to that their ea­ger­ness in tak­ing short­cuts and you have a pop­u­lace that has im­me­di­ate ac­cess to nearly any sort of in­for­ma­tion via a sim­ple In­ter­net search but shack­led by a prej­u­diced or neg­li­gent at­ti­tude that pre­vents them from ac­quir­ing any real in­for­ma­tion.

I’m as guilty of that as any. For months, I’ve been ig­nor­ing my lan­guage-learn­ing apps and watch­ing mind-numb­ing Youtube videos of cats (and now baby pan­das) in­stead.

No more. If noth­ing else, East­wood has en­er­gised me into ac­tion, not merely about being po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect, but about back­ing up po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect opin­ions with facts and in­for­ma­tion in as many lan­guages as I can pos­si­bly pick up in the next few months.

Mean­while, I strongly ad­vo­cate that we all pick up news and in­for­ma­tion di­rectly from the sources and not sim­ply take what­ever is shared by a friend on Face­book. Or if we do, at least cor­rob­o­rate the ve­rac­ity of th­ese sto­ries be­fore we form an opin­ion of them. It’s the era of en­light­en­ment. Be en­light­ened.

DAR­REN HO MAN­AG­ING ED­I­TOR dar­[email protected] In­sta­gram: @Dar­renHo Twit­ter: @Dar­renJYHo

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Singapore

© PressReader. All rights reserved.