Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Is German 'Hate-Speech' Simply 'Opinion'?

Over the past two years....'hate-speech' has been uttered a lot by German journalists.  At some point in 2015, you''d hear it or 'xenophobia' at least once or twice each night as part of the news episode.

What is defined as 'hate-speech'?  This gets to being a bit hard to reach a clear definition.  You could say something about immigrants or migrants, and simply skip over the 'golden-step' that gets you into trouble.  You make a simple comment about ghetto creation, and that would get someone all hyped up to accuse of hate-speech.  If the prosecution folks hand you paperwork that says you crossed the line and uttered some of the right phrases, well, that's the moment when you realize you went a bit too far.

The German intellectual crowd are a bit worried now over the internet and social media....because in their humble opinion...there's too much hate-speech going on.  Their feeling is attached to insults that you might utter (prostitute, idiot, or crazy) might be enough to get the news and intellectual crowd upset.  In their world of discussion....you don't utter insults.

Naturally, you get the feeling that their intellectual discussions are typically at a table or on some patio, with a glass of wine, or a cup of freshly-made coffee.  Everyone is thoughtful, and agreeable in the end.

I would suggest over the past decade....things have quietly changed, and the intellectual and journalist crowd have been left by the side of the road. It's a bold new world.

1.  Twitter, Facebook and social media have openly replaced the common vehicles of delivery for news and discussion.  As much as print-media and TV news think they are a big part of your world today.....they probably aren't.

2.  If you go and interview a hundred working-class Germans and ask if they read the bulk of a newspaper today...daily....the vast majority will just laugh.  I seriously doubt that you will find more than one-third of the group who have a daily paper and read the majority of it.  A lot of people might pick up a Bild copy at work and just read through the front page.  Some might listen to the news on the radio as they drive into work.  There are still some Germans (fewer than a decade ago) who read the news magazines like Spiegel, Focus, etc.

3. Lack of trust.  If you go and look at the US atmosphere over the past twenty years....distrust of the news media and journalists is a routine thing now.  I think the same trend is going on in Germany. Bias reports....slanted news....are seen in various areas.

4.  Because of the efforts of comedians and satirists to condemn just about everyone....people don't have the level of respect that they did from twenty years ago.  It doesn't matter if we are talking about business leaders, church leadership, or political characters.  When people are condemning these public figures with what seems to be 'hate-speech'....it's mostly the same talk that satirists would use.

In the end, opinion among people (not just Germans) is fairly strong on certain topics.  Frustration over change or lack of change drives everyone to be hyped up.  Whatever 'crop' has been planted....is simply being harvested at this point..

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