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Sunday, January 30, 2005


Week 6: Censorship

I generally agree with both the CO and J'myle. There should be absolutely zero censorship so long as a particular exercise of the Freedom of Speech does not directly hurt someone (i.e., shouting 'Theatre' in a crowded fire (I like that =)) and so long as I have a reasonable opportunity to avoid the exercise of Speech that I find offensive. So...TV, Radio, Movies, etc. are all free game as far as I'm concerned. The issues that we all own the airwaves and so the FCC can regulate what travels upon them is quickly becoming moot. With cable and satellite the wackos have ever more medium to ply their often offensive trades (need I even mention the internet?) and I have ever more opportunity to avoid them and find things that suit me. Hence...a Free Market complete with wide selection and consumer freedom will determine what society wants far faster, cheaper and more accurately than the Government ever could.

So, the only things I would suggest that should be rightly censored are truly public spaces. We should not be subjected to images of situations put so delicately by the CO (he does have a way with words, doesn't he =)) on a billboard in Times Square. Nor should we be auditorally assaulted by profanity-laced tirades amplified by a megaphone in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

How, exactly, we are going to decide which Speech gets censored in public places is difficult. In the end the decision must come down to common sense. If someone is offended by another's legitimate ideas, too bad. If, on the other hand, someone is offended by another's insulting language...then maybe something needs to be done (e.g., do we really want to defend my right to spew profanity while standing on Lincoln's head?). Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules and each case needs to be judged individually. If you don't like that answer then -phetwe-. I spit on you. Be gone from my sight!

Anyway...Before signing off, I would like to point out that I used two examples of truly public spaces: A city street and the Mall in DC. Inside a privately owned store or even within your local mall are a completely different manner. If Sacks 5th Ave. wants to allow CO-esque acts of carnal playtime or if the Mall of America ownership don't mind having those profanity-laced-megaphone-enhanced-tirades on their private property, there is absolutely nothing that gives any government the right to interfere. Which brings me to my pet peeve: smoking bans in "public places" that just happen to be privately owned restaurants and bars. Related...maybe...but we'll leave such things until another time.


All right, I also just noticed a comment left at J'myle's post by Tefran and I would like to briefly respond. What we are suggesting here is that Speech should not be constrained by the government unless it's going to harm someone else or (as I suggest) it is being exercised in a public place. Speech that fits these criteria has nothing in common with taxes, murder or theft. All three of those hurt people (in various ways and to different degrees) and so can be rightly outlawed or constrained depending on the circumstances.

:-P They are not _my_ acts, just examples.
Just a couple of quick comments.

First, the people do not own the airwaves. The Government ownes the airwaves in trust for the masses. By International law, the various governments have the right to restrict what what transpires in that spectrum.

Second, you cannot specify what is and isn't censorship. You must have rules that define what is and isn't acceptable.

To use your example, "Nor should we be auditorally assaulted by profanity-laced tirades amplified by a megaphone in front of the Lincoln Memorial". What if the individual doing such an act classified it as performance art? It's a public place on a public monument - the public "owns" it.

I say this again - society determines what is an isn't acceptable - speech included. The FCC only proscribes what society determines as acceptable.

Simple as that.
Some of these younger people I'm afraid still don't get it .You have been endowed the freedom of speech and the expression of your opinion since God made the world . Or ,if you choose ,the inception of the world . Whatever . My point is , everyone has the right to say whatever it is that spins around their mind and rolls off their toungue . Now there are so many variables to what you can say and get away with . That's the catch ,"Get Away With". One society may permit a simple word spoken and another might imprison you for speaking the same word . You might be chastised severely for talking Democracy in China . You might be fired for talking Union in Walmart . Then you might be killed in Columbia for preaching drug control .Get it? It is not brain surgery if you look at it in proper prospective . Some like to make seriouos literary speeches and elaborate comment about free speach and sensorship. It all boils down to ; who has the power ; who has the gun ; who has agreed in which society what is acceptable ; what courts have created comliance issues ;; and what are the penalties . Then your concience comes last ,or you may put it first when your thoughts deem it necesary . Say what you will . Be careful where you say it . If you are not educated to the facts or truth you will be let to know . People are educated in a society as to what the norm of acceptance is as far as public speech is concerned , even though media outlets violate their own rules every day . Many good menand women have died for your right to have free speach in it's most pure form . Candidism . If you want a fight . I'm sure there is someone who will challenge you over what you may say in public , and many for you to challenge . It is an ongoing process that needs to be defined dayly . Just like updating your anti-virus definitions . It was not so many years ago that Martin Luther King JR. fought so hard for the rights of Howard Stearn . And I doubt the two Knew each other . All I can close with is that someone will police you as to what you can say in public and you need to also police the Police . Keep vigil in the process or lose it all .
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