Commentary: Consequences of Our Opinions

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‘… no filter plus some Prosecco is a dangerous combination’


By Alicia Chamely

A COUPLE of weeks ago I wrote an article regarding a video made by a politician that was circulating on social media.

Due to the nature of the video and my harsh opinion of the subject matter an editorial decision was made not to publish as it made both myself and AZP News potentially liable to defamation.

Personally, I did not think I said anything that the hundreds of other people who watched the video hadn’t. In my opinion the subject matter of the video was incredibly discriminatory and misogynistic.

While my perception of the video may have been shared by others, the issue is my perception of what individual was saying may have been completely opposite to what he was trying to convey.

And that my friends could have left me searching for court clothes and explaining to my family that we would be sleeping in one bedroom because I had to rent the others out to strangers to cover the enormous legal fees. With that in mind, it wasn’t worth it.

Do I still think this person is an absolute twit? Yes! Am I sticking to what I said? Yes! But… and it’s a big but…BBL type of but… I do accept the slim, very, very, slim possibility that I read into the said twit’s statements incorrectly. I doubt it, but you know… ehhh.

Frankly it wasn’t a hill worth dying on. Now as disappointed as I was that my article got shelved, because trust me it was all kinds of angering and hilarious at once, this did serve as a valuable lesson…well two lessons.

Firstly, we are all entitled to our opinions. We are free to express these opinions, but what we are not free of are the consequences of expressing those opinions. Opinions are not facts. They may be rooted in some fact, but mostly they are based on our perception.

As much as we may not like to admit it, we must also come to terms with the fact that our perception of let’s say something that was said, may not be inline with what the original speaker had intended. Thus, leaving us at risk of being accused of twisting their words.

Again, we all have the freedom to have opinions. What we are not free from are the consequences of expressing these said opinions.

This brings me to my second lesson. Those of us who have voices in public, be they as large as a politician or as microscopic as mine, must be careful of what we put out and how we put it out.

Words can be misconstrued, people may take our opinion as fact, and there are consequences.

Maybe the video I commented on was simply that individuals take on dating and women based on their personal experiences. It was a limited view, and the way it was presented it appeared to be casting negative experiences upon all women within a certain section of society.

‘Or just say whatever the hell you want, just make sure you have the facts to back it up and the financial fortitude to pony up those court costs’

It came out badly and as such left him open to extreme criticism and accusations of bigotry. Perhaps this was an opinion he should have kept to himself.

I’ve had people criticise my articles based on their perception of what I was trying to say. It comes with the territory, but we must be careful that what we say does not cause harm. That it does not promote hate, sexism, bigotry or division. We must be careful that it does vilify another individual based on our personal opinions.

I am a person with minimal filter, you know that person who wakes up after a night of drinking and must take a serious inventory of all the people they have offended because no filter plus some Prosecco is a dangerous combination.

I’ve gotten myself into my fair share of trouble, but as I get older and perhaps a smidgen wiser, I have learned to watch my words.

In a time where people can freely express their opinions in numerous forums, we must remember that freedom of expression does not come without criticism, misinterpretation and consequence.

As a person whose “thoughts” go out publicly, I must be extremely cautious not only because I can end up in court, but because I can do serious damage to someone or something based on my opinion, which may or may not be subject to certain personal biases or experiences.

So, word to the wise, before you open your mouth, ask yourself if your opinion is worth sharing. If it will do more harm than good. Or just say whatever the hell you want, just make sure you have the facts to back it up and the financial fortitude to pony up those court costs.


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