Sensitivity and Offense

“Notes in Justification of Putting the Audience Through a Difficult Evening” was an interesting read as it addresses the discomfort from controversies and sensitive topics that are seemingly polarized yet challenging to pick a side at times.

When we heard of the name Hitler, we associate it only with negativity by default. However, Hitler was also a human like any of us. It is totally plausible that he loved his dog despite all the horrible things he did. If we showed even a tiny hint of affection or relatable feelings towards a morally and politically correct action of Hitler’s, we probably would still be coined as awful human beings who follow a devil’s belief. I most definitely do not support Hitler’s political view yet reading this essay made me realize the difficulty to recognize Hitler’s human character beyond what he stands for as a symbol.

I can parallel this issue with a challenge I encountered this past summer. Aziz Ansari, an American actor who gained his fame recently due to the Netflix series Master of None also got a lot of attention for controversy around sexual misconduct last year. I didn’t follow the case closely but was aware of the scandal. Dialing back to July 2018, I was contemplating what I am interested in working on for my thesis. Modern romance has always been a recurring theme in many of my works at ITP hence I wanted to use thesis as an opportunity to research and extend my idea. A friend of a friend I met at a party recommend me reading the book “Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari. Without much doubt, I purchased the book as it seems right down my alley based on Amazon reviews. As I began to read Ansari’s book, I was intrigued by his sociological approach to the topic through personal experiences, focus group studies as well as hundreds of interviews across the globe. I sent one of my best friend a photo of a quote from the book that I found relatable. She freaked out immediate and responded “I don’t trust Aziz Ansari’s love advices. He is a sex offender”. I was surprised by her respond yet her words also made me felt confused and uncomfortable. I understand it is almost impossible to separate his research in romantic love from sexual allegations against him since the two topics are closely related. It is positive that I don’t appreciate his behavior yet I personally don’t discredit the content he created for his book. Does that mean that I am a “bad” person?

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