We live in an emotionally charged world. Ideology is shifting greatly in America and at an exponential rate. What the people held to be true three years ago, is now questioned. People are inevitably upset and demand change, while others want to silence voices that disagree.
As a writer seeing this stuff happen it makes me wonder how much of Fahrenheit 451 might come to pass. I’ve written quite a bit on how easily offended we have become as a culture, but the issue has deepened. Opposite sides of believes often don’t even want to hear each other. People who disagree are now deemed evil, whereas once upon a time both parties might have been able to understand they don’t see the world the same and leave it at that.
Now if there is information that people disagree with there are “safe places” in colleges. There is an ever-growing push to not offend, while on the other hand some take that as a license to be unapologetically offensive. Offending or being offensive is now the worst thing someone can do, and some call for those voices to be silenced and it is already happening. Look no matter where your beliefs fall, you have a right to be offended, and someone else has a right to be offensive. That’s how a free society works. The reason for this is “offensive” is relative. What you are offended by isn’t offensive to your neighbor and so forth. Of course, that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some limits on speech, such as threats of bodily harm. When we get to the point in society where we cannot tolerate being offended is when things like art become repressed. Will we get to a point that art is banned or books like in Fahrenheit 451? Maybe not, but extreme censorship is not that farfetched. Despite cultural swings, a writer never panders and never censors. It is the job of the author to tell the story as it is, no matter how uncomfortable. That also includes being true to the characters, and once again, not pander to cultural leanings.
It is interesting times we live in. Will we continue to have thinner skin in our culture as time progresses? Will we push the government to silence voices that hurt our feelings? Will we rise above this and realize that being offended is subjective and a choice? Time will tell.