SARRAH LE MARQUAND: Well, yeah, like most journalists I’m very passionate about freedom of speech and, of course, they say the best way to test the veracity of that conviction is by thinking of someone whose views and work really offends you and just how passionate then are you about them exercising their right to free speech.
So for me, for example, I might nominate Bob Ellis as the most offensive writer in Australia, because just when you think his misogyny has reached an all-time low, he manages to outdo himself. But would I take Bob Ellis to court and claim vilification? I wouldn’t and the reason I wouldn’t do that is because to do so would actually be to make him a martyr in the eyes of him and his supporters and it would actually confirm his world view, which is that he is the poor repressed white male and I’m the evil woman trying to destroy the world.
So I think this is probably an unpopular view with a lot of people but as media consumers and every single one of us is media consumers, we need to be very wary of how we respond and how much power we want to give to those who offend us.
On that note, for the record, I have just stopped reading Bob Ellis and, honestly, I have never been happier.