Need some advice? In need an unsolicited opinion? Look to the internet, the television, any magazine of your choosing. It seems as though everybody has his opinions in regards to any given topic—and he is eager and willing to share them with you. With the advent of the internet, we have, in recent years, witnessed a deluge of commentary.
We have seen famous bloggers, such as Perez Hilton, gain tremendous notoriety for essentially debasing the celebrity image, and ordinary people-made-famous via YouTube discourse, which might include anything from sex to politics to religion. The Great American Memoir has replaced the novel as the primary literary aspiration of the 21st century. We are well into the Age of Indiscretion. But just because we can say anything, does that mean we must say everything?
Many of us could use a lesson in the art of discretion. There are certain times during which it behooves one to just keep quiet. However, with the prevalence of so many media outlets—and an endless amount of airtime that producers and executives are desperate to fill with chatter—keeping quiet is sometimes hard to do.
Howard Stern, radio commentator and provocateur, could use a lesson in the virtue of verbal constraint. After the Oscars last week, Stern criticized Precious actress Gabourey Sidibe’s weight. “There’s the most enormous, fat black chick I’ve ever seen. She is enormous. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie,” he said.
While the First Amendment guarantees us the right to free speech, it is sometimes necessary to limit our public expression of opinion for the sake of common courtesy. It is important for us to remember that we are all united in the human experience. We should take that knowledge and use it as a way to become noble instead of vicious.