“Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of ‘crackpot’ than the stigma of conformity.” – Thomas J. Watson
Let’s Talk Controversy…
Some content and opinions may be controversial. Our society is littered with touchy subjects, and polarized beliefs. Controversial issues manage to find us every day whether we choose to acknowledge them or not. We have two options when we need to take a stance on a controversial subject. We can filter everything we do in an effort to not rock the boat, or we can state our honest opinions. The funny thing is, most good people with important things to say try not to rock the boat, while those who are belligerently and obnoxiously opinionated, are often self-assured in speaking their minds.
If you’re afraid that by speaking out about controversial topics, you may lose some readers, I say, who cares?
Sometimes taking a stance on important issues sets you apart. People who speak their beliefs are often respected. When you decide to be a little risky with your opinion pieces, researched posts or creative works, I think people generally try to respect that as long as you’re not being disrespectful and hateful yourself.
When dealing with controversy, you don’t need to shy away from it. Just be wise with your wording and matter of fact. If you’re making a creative work that may be triggering for others, a note before or after explaining why you made it and maybe some helpful references can ease the shock.
I had to learn this lesson the hard way after posting a poem about abuse one day, drawing from my own experiences with people in my life and my own dark side to an extent. Without some words of caution and support it was much more controversial, but it also became one of my most popular posts at the time due to it being a topic most others won’t touch in such a provocative way.
“What are the benefits of being risky though?”
Let me share an interesting fact with you.
Are you aware of the video game series called Grand Theft Auto?
Most likely your answer to that question is a yes, because it’s one of the best selling video game series of all time. If you don’t know what the game’s all about, it gives you the freedom to lead the life of a non-typical protagonist. He’s usually a thug, or an outlaw, or a person of violence, and this character spends time with others of the same sort, each with less and less morality than the other. They commit crimes, shoot police officers, sell drugs, pickup prostitutes etc.
Well, before the first Grand Theft Auto game was released, Rockstar Games (Under their previous name, DMA Design) hired a renowned public relations representative to ensure the game would be as high profile, as possible, for it’s release. Do you know what this rep did to make sure that everyone was talking about Grand Theft Auto?
He began to send out copies of the game to be reviewed by hyper-sensitive conservative types who would be absolutely appalled by it and give it a bad review. Those reviewers were so upset by what they had witnessed that they wrote to their political leaders about the game and demanded it not to be released. Some government officials had to make statements about their opinions on the game. DMA Design couldn’t have asked for better publicity and the game was front and center in everyone’s mind. It also received a lot of free publicity. Everyone wanted to see what all the hype was about, and it never hindered the game’s chance for success – in fact, it caused the game to explode into the spotlight.
“So, you’re saying, controversial writing is good writing?”
Well, no, good writing is good writing. Let’s go back to that example with Grand Theft Auto. If the game wasn’t fun to play, then the controversy would not have helped to produce a legacy for that game. The game was always fun, and in fact, the creators have stated that they never created the game just to stir up controversy, they created it to be fun first and the game just sort of took them in a dark direction.
Well, If you are being controversial just for the sake of being controversial, then God help you, because you’ve likely dug your own grave. If you’re honestly expressing an opinion or just aiming to express something creatively, then all power to you. If you ruffle a few feathers from that, and earn love and admiration from others, then I’d say that was worth it. It just needs to be important to you and you have to be true to yourself.
You have to be your unique self.
Don’t be afraid to speak your mind on important and contentious issues, because the world needs to hear your opinions, especially if you’re fighting for human rights. You may attract a new following of similarly opinionated individuals and those individuals can be very loyal followers.
Having shared opinions or creative tastes are great ways to build relationships with other people. If you lose a few readers who are completely opposed to your ideas or creative works, than I don’t know what to say, “you can’t please them all”, comes to mind.
On the other hand, if the type of controversy that you want to create involves hate, bigotry or division, then you not only need to question your content, but your entire way of living. You’re going to lose everyone except for those who are equally as grotesque.
I think someone needs hug
If you really want to be unique and set yourself apart from everybody else in blogging and in life, you have to brave enough to speak your truth! Don’t let controversy or the opinions of others intimidate you, as long as you are speaking for what you believe is right. Non-conformists deserve respect.
Just be sure it’s important to you.