Published - 26th March 2013
The humanists probably started the trend back in 2008 with advertising on London buses proclaiming “There’s probably no god. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”
This started a series of controversial advertisements which parodied one other including Stonewall’s “Some people are gay, get over it!” campaign which I found difficult to get over, but I’ll come to that later.
And now the High Court has cleared Boris Johnson of being politically motivated in banning a Christian group’s controversial advertising on London buses. The ad’s, created in response to Stonewall’s own London bus campaign which was allowed to run, were banned, co-incidentally and clearly without political motivation, on the eve of the mayoral election last year.
The slogan which read “Not gay! Ex-gay! Post-gay and proud. Get over it!” is clearly offensive to some, but both groups knew perfectly well that they would offend people and the right to offend must be defended in the interest of freedom of expression. Without the right to freedom of expression, the better financed or more vocal groups will inevitably succeed in suppressing views that they find disagreeable and politicians, backed up by the courts, will quickly erode our right to be an irritant.
Both of the advertisements were cleared by the Committee of Advertising Practice, neither is likely to change minds or encourage people to ‘get over it’, but what I find really offensive and difficult to ‘get over’, is the systematic abuse of the exclamation mark.