Friday, 27 March 2015

#BoycottEltonJohnsAuthoritarianism.


Two weeks ago, global fashion icons Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, along with their brand, were verbally attacked by music legend Sir Elton John for airing their personal views on traditional marriage and IVF. An enraged Elton John offered the following tweet in response to Dolce and Gabbana's personal opinion on two issues that commonly divide opinion:

"How dare you refer to my beautiful children as 'synthetic'. And shame on you for wagging your judgemental little fingers at IVF...Your archaic thinking is out of step with the times, just like your fashions. I shall never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again. #BoycottDolceGabbana"
Ignoring the fact Elton John was seen with a D&G bag in public only days after his rant, three real issues have arisen from this spat. Two are merely confirmation of pre-existing social issues while the other potentially debunks the notion of being a homophobe if you disagree with same-sex marriage.

1. Elton John has confirmed that we live in an authoritative state.

It's not the first time and it certainly won't be the last time someone displays blatant authoritarianism over another simply for having an opinion that differs. Elton John's aggressive outburst was essentially an attack on Dolce and Gabbana's brand by asking millions of people to boycott their products simply because they had an opinion contrary to his. Sadly, it's yet another example of the "You can't say that!" society we live in. 

As Gabbana stated post Elton Johns' attack:
"...I mean, you preach understanding, tolerance and then you attack others? Only because someone has a different opinion? Is this a democratic or enlightened way of thinking? This is ignorance, because he ignores the fact that others might have a different opinion and that theirs is as worthy of respect as his... 
"...It's an authoritarian way of seeing the world: agree with me or, if you don't, I'll attack you... 
"...Domenico has his ideas, he made some choices. Elton John made different choices. Different choices, different lives. Equal respect."
It happens all too often; as soon as someone has an opinion that differs from the mainstream, they are attacked and labelled names such as "bigot", "hater", "archaic" and "intolerant". This coming from those who champion freedom and equality.
We call ourselves a free country and a democracy but sadly, we are becoming less so. The right to offend and be offended has been intolerantly crushed. You may only now voice an opinion if it is agreeable with the majority. 

Unless of course you want to lose your job like Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich (who lost his job for donating $1,000 to a political campaign against same-sex marriage) or you like the prospect of forced mediation (like that imposed on Toowoomba physician David van Gend after he wrote an article saying a baby deserves both a mother and a father).
2. The media certainly are not impartial

No huge surprise but this case is yet another example of the media reporting the side of the story that fits their agenda. 

When Docle and Gabbana provided their views on traditional marriage and IVF, it was as if there was a media censorship on the issue. It just wasn't news apparently. However, as soon as Elton John began an aggressive campaign to boycott a brand based on an opinion, it WAS news. 

In my opinion, and I'm sure many others, the media needs a huge upheval in this country. Social issues are driven by media bias across a multitude of issues. The media in large blatantly disregards its audience who have a right to impartial reporting and facts on both sides of every story.

3. You're not a homophobe if you disagree with same-sex marriage

I'd love a buck for every time I've seen the homophobe card raised whenever someone advocates traditional marriage. It would seem to make perfect sense in our authoritative world that anyone who doesn't agree with same-sex marriage is a homophobe!

Yet Dolce and Gabbana are openly gay so how does that work? 

If something decent has come out of the Dolce and Gabbana v Elton John war of words, apart from Dolce and Gabbana having the guts to view their opinion in the face of certain criticism, it is the fact that it completely shreds the unintelligent argument that anyone who disagrees with same-sex marriage is a homophobe.

I've never understood how that argument has carried any weight at all. It's akin to saying if you don't like footy you must be a netball fan! 

So while our media will push the point that anyone who argues against same-sex marriage is an intolerant, hate filled, homophobic bigot, they're actually simply someone who has a different opinion. 

Let's just remember same-sex marriage has been defeated in Australia no less than seven times (eight if you include this week's decision by the Federal Liberal Party to not allow a conscience vote on the issue - the Party continues to advocate traditional marriage). 

And let's also remember that a healthy society is one in which two sides of any issue can thrash out their separate arguments without being shut down and intimidated if a certain opinion doesn't sit well with the group of people with the loudest voice. 

All the best,
Dom Meese

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