Being Who You Are

at the Broadway Opening of "The Color Purple". The Broadway Theatre, New York, NY. 12-01-05

by Dr Joe Kosterich

In life David Bowie was always a trendsetter, one step ahead of the herd. In having and then dying of cancer he again went against the popular trend. It was a private matter. He did not announce to the world that he had been diagnosed with an illness. There was no ongoing story of his brave battle with cancer. There were no pictures of him with drip lines on social media. He did not start an awareness campaign, a foundation or call for somebody to put up more funding.

Even the tweet by his son confirming the passing was succinct and accompanied by “his signing off for now”.

He dealt with a personal issue in private. This is rare and praiseworthy.

Ben Elton’s 2007 book Blind Faith (pre Instagram, Facebook and Twitter taking off) is set in a word where everyone knows everything about everybody. And where, what a person “feels “ and “truly believes” is protected under law while what is rational and even provable is condemned as heresy.

Less than a decade later this fiction has almost come to pass. The ability of those whose “feelings” have been “offended” are vigorously pursued by a gaggle of government departments while facts go by the wayside. The events in Cologne bear this out.

What we had for lunch is Facebook fodder and who any particular celebrity is sleeping with this week is click bait. Cable TV is filled with “reality” shows like Geordie Shore where getting drunk and having sex is done for the entertainment of others.

I have no issue with what people watch or how they live their lives – that is their business.

However, the right to privacy and free speech matter and must be defended. Offence can never be given, only taken. Freedom of thought and expression are genuine human rights.

A pushback is starting against political correctness, which stops people saying what they think. Most are over closing down of discussions by calling someone an “ist” of some description.

Bowie has shown us we do not have to share publicly every facet of our lives. We can live and die peacefully with only those who matter to us.

Make 2016 a year to reclaim your individuality and right to self-expression.

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