Facebook

25 November 2016

Flashback Friday | Freedom Of Speech & Boat Names

 

Today is Michael d’Agostino’s Flashback Friday. The idea is to republish an old post of yours that maybe didn't get enough attention, or that you're really proud of, or you think is still relevant etc. We started this blog almost three years ago and have lots more followers now then we did back then (thanks guys!) and many of them may not have seen some of our earlier blog posts.

I had mixed feeling about whether to share this post for Flashback Friday. I often write quite silly and fluffy stuff on the blog, but this one is much more serious post about freedom of speech.  

When we lived in New Zealand, we would walk the docks at our local marina and check out the other boats, and their names. One boat had a name which I found offensive. It inspired me to reflect on the importance of freedom of speech, even when you don't always like what someone else is saying. 

I realize this post may not be everyone's cup of tea, but freedom of speech is something I've been thinking about quite a bit recently following the recent US election. I'm curious what you all think about it too. I'd love for you to have a read and share your thoughts in the comments.

{This post was originally published in September 2013. You can find it here.}

 
****

 
Westhaven Marina, where we currently keep our boat, is a lovely marina centrally located in Auckland with friendly staff, good facilities, great views of the downtown area and Waitemata Harbor and lots of different types of boats. 

Like most children, all of the boats in Westhaven are sweet-natured and have their own unique beauty. Except for one boat who I suspect bullies the other boats in the marina around and quite frankly frightens me. I blame the boat’s parents for giving her what I think is an offensive name, which may be the reason she is so mean-spirited. 

I’m not going to say what the name of the boat is, but it basically describes what a mob of angry people might do to a poor innocent person whom they hate because he or she is different. What they do their victim might involve a rope and a tree perhaps. And if you can’t quite figure out what the boat name means, they have a very helpful illustration on the side to help you out.
I’ve given some pretty obvious clues so you’ve probably figured out the name by now. If not, trust me, it isn’t pleasant. And if you’re American, it's particularly unpleasant. But maybe that’s just me.

I happen to think that describing ways to kill people on the side of your boat both in words and pictures isn’t very pleasant. A sailboat is meant to be a “pleasure vessel” and death kind of takes the “pleasure” out of it for me. You expect pirates and violence in the Gulf of Aden, but you don't really expect to see a boat with a death threat on it sailing in the beautiful Hauraki Gulf in New Zealand.

I try to give the boat owners the benefit of doubt. Maybe they adopted her and find it too expensive and time consuming to change the name she came with (I can relate to being cheap and lazy). Perhaps they don’t know what their boat name means (although the picture kind of gives it away). They’re probably Kiwis so I imagine the name doesn’t have the same impact on them that it would have on an American (although it does describe a way to kill people). Maybe they can’t read (but again there's the picture). Or maybe they’re just trying to be ironic. Who knows.

Part of me would love to set up my own little private agency which gives out tickets to people with offensive boat names (and maybe silly and stupid boat names too), but then I remember that I’m a big fan of freedom of speech and that it does come with a price. Sometimes that price involves being offended. People are free to  name their boat what they want and I'm free to choose to be offended or not.

By the way, feel free to give us a ticket for having a silly boat name – Rainbow’s End. We inherited the name when we bought the boat and, while it isn’t the name we would have chosen, we don’t find it offensive. Plus we’re too cheap to change her name and repaint the boat. And the bonus picture of a seahorse on the stern somehow makes up for it. If you’re offended by the name “Rainbow’s End”, exercise your freedom of speech and let us know.

What are the best and/or worst boat names you've come across? What are your thoughts on freedom of speech?

Thanks for stopping by our blog - we love it when people come visit! We're also on Facebook - pop by and say hi! 



18 comments:

  1. Great post! I'm a huge proponent of freedom of speech, myself. ☺ When someone says something offensive and others complain about it, the offender often cites the "freedom of speech" mantra. My comeback is always that others are free to dispute or dislike it and say so. I hope the "bully boat" didn't cause too much strife in the marina.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Debbie - I'm glad you liked it. Although I described the boat as a bully for effect, she was actually a lovely boat and I'm sure her owners were lovely as well.

      Delete
  2. I too believe in freedom of speech. I would probably say something to the boat owner, like how did you come up with that name. Find out the why. Sometimes it's innocent and misunderstood (happened to a boating buddy of mine with his boat name). Your depiction doesn't sound like a misunderstanding. I just want to hear their justification of their boat name.

    In the U.S. right now we have thugs running the streets, killing cops, rioting, Black Lives Matter that today are making sure we don't shop in white owned stores. Shutting down freeways while people die because they can't get to the hospital. I know it's freedom of speech, but I don't see it that way when someone is holding others hostage.

    Politics is a dirty business. Clinton is a crook, and perhaps all politicians are, but she was given a pass on almost everything. Trump is evil no matter what he says or does. It's twisted beyond belief. Freedom of speech is often okay for one side of the aisle, but not the other.

    Lastly, people are hyper sensitive about everything. They can be up in your business when they have no right to be. Everyone seems judgemental, many hateful, and other just downright mean. We need to conform to whatever they deem is the right path to follow. If we don't then we are a long list of nasty adjectives.

    Our schools are for the most part turning out uninformed idiots and that frightens me the most.

    As you can see you touched a nerve here with me.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts, Sandee. It's definitely an emotive subject and it touches nerves in many of us. I should add a caveat - while I strongly support freedom of speech, I don't advocate violence or doing harm to others and their property. We need to find ways to talk with each other, understand views that are different from our own and convey our own views in a peaceful manner. It isn't always easy, but we have to keep trying.

      Delete
  3. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of any democracy. But like with all other rights, it comes with responsibility. One of these responsibilities is respect for your fellow man. It's my opinion the boat owners you described in your post failed miserably in this regard. On a lighter note, there are a ton of boat names out there that I find offensive (I can't think of one off the top of my head but they usually include sexual innuendo, belittling of women or copious amounts of alcohol in them). The one name that really, really surprised me though is "Sativa". I'm not sure why anyone would name their boat after a strain of marijuana -- it just doesn't seem like a good idea to me, even in a state where it's legal.

    Have a great weekend!
    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I learned something new today :-) I had no idea what "Sativa" was. Now that I know, it does seem like a very odd choice for a boat name.

      Delete
  4. Freedom of speech is an American ideal that I absolutely believe in- but I also believe in kindness and inclusion and expressing yourself appropriately. I've seen a lot of sexy or corny boat names that seem embarrassing, and then there's the ones that are overused (second wind, etc)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There definitely are some embarrassing ones out there! I was glad our sailboats came with such innocuous names so that I didn't feel like I had to scrape them off right away.

      Delete
  5. Sometimes names don't cross the cultural divides. I can think of a particular asian name (think excrement followed by which part of your body you wear a hat) that when pronounced and written in English would be very offensive but clearly doesn't have the same meaning in its native language. Have a good weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's very true about things being offensive in one culture, but not another. It took me a while to figure out what that Asian name is, but I think I know now :-)

      Delete
  6. I believe in freedom of speech, as long as it doesn't offend anyone. That being said, some people are more easily offended than others and sometimes, you might say or do something that actually offends someone without you (that might be me :-)) realizing it. Our last sailboat came wth the name "Big Trouble", which in my opinion offended the boat itself, so it had to go! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting name. I wonder if someone was in Big Trouble for buying the boat without asking their partner first :-)

      Delete
  7. We have a resort community near where I live called El Gouna. Hubs and I worked and lived there for 5 years. It was glorious and the marina was filled with yachts, mostly with engines, but some big catamarans and sail boats. I read their names and home ports all the time. I was always amazed by the ones marked from Florida or Georgia -- so far from home. None ever had offensive names. Take a peek: https://www.google.com.eg/search?q=el+gouna+marina+egypt&espv=2&biw=1024&bih=536&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-58Tu58bQAhWCCMAKHV5dBsYQsAQITw

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lexa for the link - I'll check it out! Who knows, maybe we'll sail our boat over there one day.

      Delete
  8. Freedom of Speech is what I try to live by, but there are situations where it becomes offensive. Not sure 'common sense' still works sadly.

    As for boat names, I'm writing a novel at the moment with various 'ships' so having to find various appropriate names, some of which would never be in a marina - but then a long-ship in a marina...................

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny that you're trying to come up with ship names. I'm doing the same thing just now for my novel.

      Delete
  9. As a former boat owner, I don't ever recall seeing any offensive names, but what you described would royally p-m-off. When I married, my husband's boat was named 'Anytime'. It had a dual meaning as I came to find out. Later we had a speedboat which I named 'Blue Thunder'. Our last boat was a large cabin cruiser called 'Treasurer's Island', since I was a Treasurer by profession.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love Treasurer's Island - that's really cute :-)

      Delete

We LOVE when people leave comments. It's so much more fun hearing what you have to say. If you have a blog, make sure you leave a link and I'll be sure to pop on by.