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Speaking Out

Ros Rice,
Executive Officer, Ros 2015 short hair
Community Networks Aotearoa

As some of you might know, I am a total music nut.  What kind of music?  Anything and everything that speaks to me.  I spent a wonderful 3 ½ hours at the Vector Arena which were solid wall to wall “The Cure”.  I cried for a month over David Bowie’s death.  But nothing has quite got to me as much as the latest Jeff Beck album called ‘Loud Hailer’.

Now this isn’t going to be a big sell for you all to grab this album, (but do it anyway), but what is interesting is what the album is about and what kind of reaction he is getting to it.

The album is called ‘Loud Hailer’ because Jeff Beck has used this opportunity to metaphorically pick up his loud hailer and tell the world about his political viewpoints.  He doesn’t pull any punches.  He worries about children, the poor and he berates the ultra-rich and his view of corruption.

I am not saying that the ultra-rich are necessarily corrupt, and neither is he, but he articulates the dis-ease and anger that we view occurring in the world.

We have heard it all, it is being widely discussed, but what I noticed with the response to Beck’s album is a few reviews where the reviewer is so incensed by his viewpoints, they are unable to hear the album musically and review only the lyrics.

We are talking here about the inability to let everyone have their own opinions without taking them personally, or becoming enraged.  I do believe strongly that we are people first, and we should not be only defined by our politics.  I have personal friends and allies on many sides of the political spectrum and we may disagree with humour on many things, but not that we respect and like each other.

Yet more and more the ability to speak out about your own views is becoming dangerous and I know of cases where people are punished for disagreeing about a view someone else holds.

Democracy is about free and open flowing discussion and myriads of views all being held as important in the greater society.  The ability to speak out must be held as a precious right and protected with fervour.

Otherwise we would not be able to hear something as beautiful, as powerful and as wonderful as Jeff Beck’s new album.

This blog has been contributed by a member of ComVoices
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