Stewart Dickson: Comprendre t-il?

A scant few days ago many in the world were united in saying “Je suis Charlie” to identify with the journalists at Charlie Hebdo. Many may regard Charlie Hebdo as frequently insulting, tasteless and at times unpleasant. However, the point was that freedom of speech to say (or write or draw) insulting, tasteless and unpleasant views is a vital tenant of democracy.

Unfortunately Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson seems not to have understood the principle. He has now complained to the Assembly standards commissioner about Sammy Wilson’s “Je Suis Sammy” tweet calling it tasteless.

Maybe the irony of complaining about tasteless references to a tasteless magazine is lost on Dickson: alternative explanations are that an election is coming, hypocrisy or simply Est-il stupide?

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  • Dan

    Much as Wilson is a mouth, Dickson is a tenth rate nobody whose only impact on the political scene is when he whines about the DUP in East Antrim, hence Wilson being the target.

  • notimetoshine

    Distasteful bore that he is he has every right to say it. Cynical electioneering at its finest me thinks.

  • aber1991

    “However, the point was that freedom of speech to say (or write or draw) insulting, tasteless and unpleasant views is a vital tenant of democracy”

    The right not to be the target of verbal aggression should be a basic human right.

  • Practically_Family

    “However, the point was that freedom of speech to say (or write or draw)
    insulting, tasteless and unpleasant views is a vital tenant of
    democracy.”

    The point was complete & utter balls then. You’re free to to say, write or draw insulting, tasteless or unpleasant things which do not impinge upon the common consensus or the criminal law. In most democracies the two usually amount to broadly the same thing.

    Which is nothing like “free” speech.

  • Zig70

    Turgon, wasn’t your point earlier that you weren’t Charlie. A point I would agree with. I’ll not insult someone for their beliefs whether it is my Dad and his fairy trees and faith healers or Sunday morning flesh chewing. To that end Sammy is dead wrong and society should reign him in. Preferably by not voting for him. His comments were very bad taste.

  • aber1991

    I see that the GAA has punished a Cavan footballer for making a sectarian remark to a Monaghan footballer. Why have we heard nothing from the champions of free speech who posted so much on Slugger? Is it all right to insult Muslims but all wrong to insult a Monaghan Protestant who is playing gaelic football? If so, why so?

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Wee Sammy likening his appearance in front of the Stormont watchdog to people who’ve been gunned down in cold blood is indeed tasteless. There need to be standards in political procedures. As for standards in satire, that’s an open field. Peut-être c’est toi qui comprends rien M Turgon. T’as pas une bonne maïtrise de la langue française ni de la langue anglaise: par exemple; “comprend-t-il” surely and tenet and tenant have entirely different meanings. A ta disposition Monsieur

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Turgon, Ben, has difficulty understanding the significance of what occured in Paris or how it relates to other people and events. When he demanded “parity of esteem” for the Northern Ireland Troubles and I accused him of introducing his own brand of political reifications, he would not seemingly get the point I was attempting to make and ordered me off “his” thread:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2015/01/11/thoughts-on-the-charlie-hebdo-murders/

  • Sergiogiorgio

    Nice try Turgon. Let’s try and muddy the waters about Sammy’s astonishingly poor and insulting choice of words. I didn’t see or hear Mr Dickson’s comments, but Sammy’s widely reported insult to those murdered in Paris was widely and rightly reported. The man is a clown and a DUP’er through and through.

  • mickfealty

    You know what Sean, contempt is such an uneducative pose to strike.

    You might be right that you are right and Turgon’s wrong, but if you cannot demonstrate an argument that proves it, you’re simply failing to engage.

    For my money Robert McLiam Wilson, read by Michael Smiley knocks spots off either of you: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04yk00p.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Mick, I sincerely believed that the point Ben was making had some complimentary issues over on that thread. But you are as ever, entirely correct in admonishing me. It’s my “ingrained satirist” giving head to that part of me still smarting at Turgon’s rather abusive response on that thread to what I considered to be a perfectly acceptable comment about the political use of the dead in NI to score points, one of my several King Charles’s Heads, alas. And one also which Turgon had claimed as his base line in his own response to “je suis Charlie” in that posting.

    I work instinctively with very visual images and similies, its how I write, but I’m aware that this may strike others occasionally as offensive. I’m sometimes told that certain images such as that which Turgon took such violent offense at are a kind of verbal caricature. But I do actually value the points Turgon was making here, and in many other postings, and my intent was to engage over what I saw as a serious, perhaps even unconscious, contradiction in his case, not to simply to upset him. I had no idea that he would respond by calling me a habitual liar and demanding I got off his thread!

    My big problem here is that, while I can usually see the other case, I’m attempting to stimulate response, hopefully intellegently argued response, from other posters who are sometimes all too willing to avoid thinking about the other side of the arguement and incorporating new insight into debate. In my exchanges with Mainland Ulsterman, for example, I think some real middle ground has been negotiated out of my acerbic approach at times. And I think that the negotiation of such mutual understanding is the only way forward.

    If my weak, dial up strength broadband here high on the Antrim plateau will not fail me yet again I’ll check out the programme you have so kindly linked. Thank you for thinking about me!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks Mick, my broadband relented and I managed to stream the link as I’ve been drafting out a painting this afternoon.

    Telling piece, with the kind of contradictory themes that I relish, for example, the value of “marching”, and the fact that it “changes nothing”, but above all the acknowledgement of actual human tragedy as something more important than political point making in his response.

    I’m picking up my spots as I type!

  • kalista63

    Dickson is a sniper. There’s a fair few of them in Stormont who like to take the chep shots when they’re represented, invisible for most of the rest of the time. I’m sure Sammy is egotistical enough to check reaction online and I think he got more than enough mocking to be instructive.

    I can’t begin to think what goes through someone’s mind when they vote for someone like Sammy, Nelson or Gregory.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    I can’t begin to think what goes through someone’s mind when they vote for someone like Sammy, Nelson or Gregory.

    It’s not that far away from what goes through the mind of someone voting for a convicted bomber. It goes something like this :

    “That dude got my road resurfaced/drained unblocked/passport problems solved/secured an entry into school for my child/made sure the local factory did not close* and he’s really good at winding up the other lot, so I’ll vote for him despite what he did in the past”