I’ve been trying for days to write an articulate post on the merits and blessings of free speech. I can’t seem to get it quite right.
Because here’s the thing: it’s not.
I live in a country where I have a right to say what I want to say, how I want to say it, where I want to say it… you get the picture.
But that’s not entirely true.
I can’t get into trouble for what I think. But if those thoughts lead to certain actions, it can get a little tricky.
Censorship can be a Useful Word. I shouldn’t go through a Drive-Thru and start preaching my views. I wouldn’t stand up at a wedding ceremony and start singing “All Night Long”. There are certain filters we (should) apply to the content we contribute to the world, as well as what we receive from it.
In mainstream media lately, there’s been a lot of chatter about Free Speech, and how some are using it and others misusing it. Sometimes it’s not talked about, just exampled… and not always eloquently.
People are ridiculed every day for things they say and do. Whether it’s an honest mistake or a media spin, others are quick to jump up and draw attention to things that could otherwise die down on its own.
Others invade privacy like they have a right to someone else’s life. Pursuing someone in any manner just to earn money is never acceptable. Never. (Mojo Opinion: Paparazzo are just legalized stalkers… who shouldn’t be. Don’t you dare tell me it’s what the public wants. Freak. I don’t care what Kate looks like naked!)
There’s a certain video circulating that started under false pretenses and is being blamed for a whole lot of, shall we say, unsavory activities. And the government tried to stop its airing. Here’s the thing: It’s an inaccurate, incendiary video that intentionally hurts people. But should the government really have the “right” to say “stop”?
Our First Amendment states:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Censorship can be also be an Ugly Word. I agree that we are exposed to a great many things we needn’t be. But to try to force a private entity to stop broadcasting goes against the basic principle of Free Speech.
I am not saying it’s okay to broadcast media that is vulgar, smutty, inflammatory… in short, “hate” media. It’s not. In any way. And I believe people should definitely be held accountable for their intentional actions.
But if broadcasting a bad video merits an exception to the right of Free Speech, then what about other “bad” media? Curse words and nudity on television? Pornography on free cable? Explicit t-shirts and billboards and car decals? What about music videos and books and social gatherings? Why can’t we eliminate the things that exemplify true hate and disunity?
We already censor ourselves. Most of us don’t make threats to others, curse in front of Granny, or expose young kids to illicit materials.
But there’s another kind of “speech” making the rounds lately. It’s the “Do As I Do” Speech. Not quite hate-speech. In fact, it’s more of a “If-You-Don’t-See-Things-My-Way-You’re-A-Hater” Hate Speech. When did having a different opinion become so anti-social?
And why does mainstream media jump all over it? I am not an eloquent speaker. I’m a great writer, but when I open my mouth in public (and often in private), I stutter and stumble and things come out that are, to say the least, embarrassing, confusing, and leave others with a “What the heck was that?” experience. Trust me on this; please don’t make me prove it. Because I can. I really, really can.
That doesn’t mean I’m a bad person. Or that I deserve bad things to be said about me, or done to me or my family.
I don’t understand our craving for watching other people make fools of themselves. Why is it so sensationalized when celebrities prove they are (*Gasp!) only human?! People can’t even joke around any more without the fear of insulting someone or getting into legal trouble under the guise of “harassment”… but we certainly get our fill of it all vicariously!
So you see the problem I’ve had writing this? I love Free Speech. I really, truly, honestly do. I’m not for Ugly Censorship. But I sure am in support of Common Sense Supervision.
F*** Sp****. It’s not what you think.
I’m thankful I have the right to make an idiot of myself. I really am. Because without it, there’d be a whole lot of illegal going on at Catford Manor. And for that, I’m thankful others don’t have the right to broadcast my life. Just sayin’…
Censorship and Free Speech. Can’t we all just get along?
And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!
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Why Does Being Politically Correct Mean the Loss of Common Sense?