Later that evening I was watching Bill Maher and the issue was brought up in a different way. Some comedians refusing to perform on college campuses because the current attitudes make free speech difficult because no one wants to offend someone. His joke was that a black guy (Chris Rock), a Jewish guy (Jerry Seinfeld), and a redneck (Larry the Cable Guy) all agree that this PC thinking is bullshit. Comedy was the great equalizer. Comedy is supposed to make fun of various stereotypes. Laughter is the best medicine. It is suppose to push the boundaries and perhaps make people uncomfortable. In doing so it forces us to look closer at things. Are we taking things too seriously? Should there be things that are taboo or should be off limits? Why is it ok to mock Christians but not Muslims (or vice versa)? Who decides?
I am glad that I read "1984" as an adult. I think I was able to better appreciate the nuances that Orwell was trying to write about. Most people assume that Big Brother was the result of some totalitarian government. It came from the top down. In actuality it came from the bottom up. People demanded the controls, and the government was happy to oblige. People are outraged that there are so many cameras out there. They were put there because people wanted to feel safe from crime and terrorism, so up they went. Look how many people are posting pictures and movies of themselves onto the Internet for all to see. We're enabling the Visascreen all by ourselves. Here I am posting innermost thoughts for the world to see. Hey, Big Brother! Here I am! *waves* So people are deciding what everyone else says or does. If I say something to offend someone, I will be shamed. Maybe I'll be marched naked down the street like in "Game of Thrones." More likely just have people comment here that I shouldn't say such things because I might be offending someone. We all have to play nice and not have an original or different thought. All will be grey.
There is something else that is pretty chilling as of late. This whole debacle about the Confederate flag is taking an ominous tone. People actually want to rewrite history! Revisionism has been rearing its head for some time now, but people today are much too quick in wanting to whip out the eraser. It's one thing to not want a supposed negative symbol sanctioned by the government, but it's another to want to wipe that symbol completely from memory in the name of not offending someone. It's a VERY slippery slope. I can just picture Winston Smith at his desk redacting all of the things that need to be taken out of history and forgotten forever in the name of the public good. Hail Ingsoc!