Friday, 22 July 2016

Important Conversations

22 February 2011. I set up a blog. When you set up a blog, no matter how you paint it, you have to have a certain level of conceit. You have to believe that people are interested in what you have to say. Therefore, what you have to say has to be interesting. That is why I set up a blog.

This is my final blog post on here. Over the five years I have been running it, I have covered quite a broad range of topics and I'd like to think I have tackled them in ways that most people haven't considered. All too often, I fall into the trap most people do. That trap is you hear a story, read the headline statements and lean on the immediate feeling. Stepping back and calmly understanding the situation is far more tricky and tends to expose uncomfortable truths. That is mainly what I wanted this blog to be, as well as a place to have some fun.

Hypocrisy was a big issue for me. I think it is the most prevalent flaw in our society and it is the least acknowledged. People were outraged at the rampant crime in the 2011 London riots but were okay downloading songs and films illegally. They were okay saying that the rich should contribute to the poor but are unwilling to make such sacrifices themselves. People are okay using hate as a method of stopping other forms of hate. I could go on. I felt it was time that those were things, along with plenty of other topics, that we discussed.

Conversations are important to have. Insights should be gathered at all times. I fear that the idea of open and free discussions is a dying art and it is off the back of such discussions that the world has come so far.

What Martin Luther King had to say on civil rights was incendiary when he said it. His words and actions came to cost him his life but it improved the lives of so many others. As uncomfortable as it is, it was important for Nick Griffin of the BNP be allowed to speak his mind. It halted his party's ascendancy, as their racist notions were fully exposed. Sunlight proved to be the best disinfectant. That moment wasn't that long ago but the notion of speaking our minds and sharing our ideas is already being attacked.

Certain agendas are being entertained, while others are being effectively erased. We are resorting to calling people racist, sexist or any other kind of hateful title as a way of shutting them up. If you think that is the best course of action, let me give you a practical example as to why that's wrong. Those people who have genuine concerns, ones that are not motivated by any hateful idea, got so sick of not being listened to that they determined to vote for someone bold enough to speak what they think. On such grounds came the political rise of Donald Trump. If you're part of that crowd who shouts down people for having an opinion, you are the soil in which the most prominent demagogue of our day grew. 

Stop shouting down conversations. Embrace other ideas and if you disagree with them, only do so with facts. Don't resort to suppressive speech or name calling. If their idea is nonsense or not in keeping with society, time will kill it. Dismiss it and it will grow in the dark as a deep rooted weed.

In 5 years or so, I've shared a lot of opinions on here. It has helped gain me a reputation of metaphorically dropping a grenade. Some of the reactions have been less than decent. Fortunately, I'm not a decent man, so it doesn't really wear me down. What I would say to anyone who wants to blog or share their opinions, you will need to be tough. Accept that if you have the right to share your insights, so do others.

We live in an era of unprecedented communication. Let's enjoy that and have those important conversations. They can be tweets, blogs, vlogs, stories, journals, opinion pieces or commentary articles. How they are had does not matter as much as the fact that we have them.

Add your mind to the conversation and, most of all, speak up.


  1. I have enjoyed your blog posts, and the many responses they received. I appreciate that, whilst I didn't always agree with your points, reading your blog gave me the chance to review my stance and the opinions of others on the wide variety of subjects you covered. I'm going to miss those sometimes controversial posts. Thanks Joel.

  2. Great Post Joel. I am sorry you are ending this, but I have only just discovered you, so I guess I will have to go back and read older posts. I have enjoyed all that you have written. You have a great talent with words. (No surprise there!) The thing which I have learned about blogging through my 12+ years of it is that you do need to have a thick skin as people will drop bombs on your blog re comments that they would never ever think to drop in person, or if they were invited into your home. There is a general lack of respect for others when you are sharing on social platforms. Everyone seems to think that they need to bend you to THEIR will, instead of seeing it as an opportunity to share thoughts and opinions and perhaps sometimes even gaining a perspective they hadn't previously entertained! Mind you I am a bit long in the tooth now, with a few wrinkles and rapidly greying hair, so there are lots in the UK who don't think I have an opinion that matters coz I'm going to die soon anyways. xo

  3. I like to read this post. Keep post.