Tag Archives: free speech

IN OTHER NEWS

-by Nerdface-

From article on front page of CNN.com:

Giving readers a play-by-play of a typical scenario of “spontaneous” sex between her and Baskett, Wilkinson explains in her new book “Being Kendra” that “as parents, now we have to try to fit in sex whenever we can.”  …Wilkinson, who refuses to “buy into that whole belief that married couples don’t have sex,” doesn’t ever plan to eliminate lovemaking from the relationship altogether.

Oh.  Em.  Gee.  Thank Vader you got this news out to me, CNN.  I can’t begin to fathom how empty my life would feel if I didn’t know details about some random woman’s very very insipid sex life (who is she again, and why should I care?). This woman doesn’t plan to completely stop having sex with her husband?  DAMN!  Stop the presses. We’ve got ourselves a fucking STORY! May the dark side of the Force forever forbid I get my hands on a piece of news with some real implications!

Like this one: a freshman in Texas was given a multiple-day suspension for making a comment to a fellow student, during a discussion about religion and homosexuality in German class, that he thinks homosexuality is wrong.

Look.  I’m queer, and I grew up in a conservative, Christian town of less than 1,000 people.  My school certainly didn’t have any ‘gays’ and it didn’t want any either.

So I get it.  I really do.  But this is NOT the kind of thing that helps the LGBT cause; it’s NOT something that helps progressives in general; and it’s wrong.  It simply is.  There is a difference between hate speech/bullying and what basically boils down to a misinformed opinion (that about half the US shares).  I mean, the kid is like freakin’ 14 years old.  He’s not hopeless.  One day maybe, in college or at work or wherever, he’ll meet a nice normal person who happens to be gay or trans or bi or maybe just an eloquent straight ally, and he’ll see the light.  But the more this kind of thing happens, the more walls he’ll throw up and the further and further back that day will be pushed.   Suspending him for voicing his (parents’) opinion smacks of the highest hypocrisy: “We want freedom of speech and to be left alone and allowed to do our thing, but we don’t want that for YOU, you misguided, evil-minded person.” That refrain sound familiar to you? It should. We (the LGBT community) have been hearing it for years.

Liberal knee-jerk reactions like this student’s suspension give the other side ammunition I’d rather they didn’t have.  And in the long run, it does no good to switch places with the bigot, no matter how good it might feel at first to have the shoe on the other foot.

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When is your right to free speech abrogated?

-by Nerdface-

I think most people would agree that riding a train shouldn’t mean you’re giving up your right to free speech.  However, there are many instances where ‘freedom of speech’ goes only so far and no further.

Example: you work at a corporation with a strict social media/blogging policy that forbids you to discuss your job or the company outside of approved communication.  Or, you don’t, but they decide your blog is “inappropriate” anyway.  Or your Facebook comments.

Example: you post online that some people “deserve to be killed” and that you advocate using “FORCE AND VIOLENCE” against specific individuals, along with those individuals’ personal information.

Example: you work as an assistant state attorney general, and decide to start a very strange, personal campaign against a college student.  (Technically Shirvell wasn’t fired for exercising his freedom of speech, but the implications are worth considering.)

So what do you think?

Should your employer be allowed to fire you for writing about your job online?  How about writing anonymously about your job online?

Anyone who has spent much time reading commentary/discussion on the internet (example: youtube comments) knows just how much incendiary, violent, abusive language is out there.  When, if ever, should that lead to criminal charges and jail time?  How much should context be taken into account—and who should decide context?

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BART spokesman: ‘no right to free speech’

-by Nerdface-

BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) is in a real mess right now.  After a recent protest, Linton Johnson, a spokesperson for BART, said riders “don’t have the right to free speech inside the fare gates.”  Now more protesting is going on as people protest his idiotic statement.

Since when does using public transit (paid for in part by tax dollars—wikipedia says that in 2005 32% of BART’s funds came from taxes) mean you are waiving your right to free speech?

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