Speak Free Or Die

First read this short news item then follow me after the flip for an angry rant.

If there was ever an example of a court making a god damned stupid decision it’s the case that just went down in Florida (hopefully you clicked on the link). To say that the content on the Internet, in all it’s vast global scope, should be subject to the morals of the most repressed communities who have access to it is probably the single most damaging blow to the idea of free speech since Junior Bush Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said that Americans should “watch what they say”. My reaction to him back then was “fuck you” and I repeat that sentiment for the Appeals Court judges who decided to fist-fuck the Bill of Rights.

Free speech is important to me and not just because I enjoy writing. It’s important because I recognize the right of human beings to express themselves as they see fit. I’m probably more of a free speech absolutist than most people out there because barring the proverbial “fire in a crowded theater” argument and perhaps slander or libel, I don’t acknowledge or accept any restrictions on free speech whatsoever. Because of my kink and the erotic nature of it, I am keenly aware that the whittling away of free speech rights threatens me and my ability to pursue my desires — desires which have nothing to do with those who do not care to involve themselves in that world. The attack on pornography and erotica is a farce and comes not from a desire to “clean up” anything but merely to impose a petit authoritarianism on others for their own enrichment. Want to know why I have an abiding dislike for religion? Then look to those folks who have nothing better to do than impose their narrow viewpoints on anyone they can get their hooks in. It’s fine to be religious — for you, not me. Don’t shove your myths down my fucking throat by pushing through laws that put people in thrall of an ideology they may not agree with. You don’t like pornography? Don’t watch it. You don’t like abortion? Don’t have one. Crusading for the cause at my expense is bullshit and I swear to myself that I will kick the ass of anyone who tries.

A case like the one sited is not the end but the beginning for people who want to dictate morals. Wait until some people in our community get banned or sued or arrested because they wrote a story that someone found obscene. You know, I’ve read a lot of stories about “daddies” and “little girls” in our scene or about “teachers” and “students”. Some of those stories venture into the realm of sexual activity of one kind or another. I’ve even written stuff like this and certainly gotten turned on by reading it. You don’t think somewhere out there some viewer of Glenn Beck or Limbaugh or some knucklehead “minister” isn’t going to find your story and go nuts? You’re fooling yourself. To me, fiction is fiction and should not be judged by it’s content but by the way it conveys those ideas. Some things are written better than others and some things that you might think are shit are good for me. Different strokes. Some stories out there might really bother you because of what they are about or what they portray — so what? Don’t read them. If their mere existence bothers you then you are the problem. As far as I know, there is no law that protects fictional characters whether they are adults, children, dogs, cats or anthropomorphic turkey basters. If there were, then mystery writers would be regularly arrested for murder for killing their characters off in droves. Heck, I’d be arrested for playing video games like the Grand Theft Auto series that makes the player’s goal the committing of crimes. ZOMG! Bad thoughts!

I want to go one step further about my free speech absolutism. I reject the idea that I have to somehow watch what I say because someone might be offended. Last time I checked, Amendment One of the Constitution doesn’t mention “offense”. There is no commandment I’m aware of that states “Thou shall not hurt someone’s wittle feewings”. Honestly, I really don’t give a fuck about people’s feelings and certainly not when it comes to my sense of humor. People might be shocked and appalled at what I find funny but it won’t stop me from saying it. Don’t like it? Leave the room. Don’t like what I’m saying? Go to the place in this browser window where it says “favorites” or “bookmarks” and delete the link to anything to do with me. Trust me, I won’t miss you.

I am not hopeful about the future of free speech even if I think the decision of the Florida court is unconstitutional and unenforceable. I fully expect the SCOTUS to uphold the decision just because there are too many right wing assclowns on the bench who care more about their own personal ideologies than they do the rights of Americans.

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5 Responses to “Speak Free Or Die”

  1. Rad – I think the implications of this ARE 1984ish. I believe the reality is that this will overturned. If this were left to stand, any group could incorporate as a municipality and define moral standards for the rest of the country.

    So, Berkeley could outlaw all right wing internet sites and conversely religious zealots in Mississippi (apologies to the non-zealots in Miss including my friends there) could have outlawed anything left wing that offends.

    This is so encompassing to be almost unenforceable. Hopefully common sense will prevail here. Not just for our “group’s” blog.

  2. This decision boggles the imagination. Especially in combination with the recent Supreme Court decision that allows elections to be bought and sold (or, more accurately, politicians) because of the first amendment rights of corporations. This is just nuts.

  3. First of all – ANGRY rant. very angry. I can imagine the adrenaline coursing through your fingers when you typed this.

    I went back and read the article in Tampa Bay Online where this was reported and picked up on a couple things. One is that the police actually paid for and downloaded the porn intentially, in some sort of strange sting operation. I guess the police and the court thought that this was the same idea as a narc buying heroin in order to bust a dealer or playing “to catch a predator.” In this case, they didn’t lure any predators out of the woodwork, the police just paid the fee and downloaded some porn. . . and viola . . .the porno maker has committed a crime.

    Second thing I noticed was that this happened in the Bible Belt (makes me think twice about moving to Atlanta, by the way).

    Third thing was that the porn that was scrutinized in court was of the golden showers variety. The article also mentioned something about scenes of vomiting (vomiting?). It also mentioned that the judge(s) wanted to ramp up the penalty because of the “sadistic, masochistic, and violent content.”

    So, here’s my take. This was probably planned by some DA in the Bible Belt who had sworn to protect his little ‘burb from the filthy filthy stuff on the internet. They obviously picked piss&vomit porn for a reason. . . to highlight the obscenity. Two, this ruling is crazy because – as you pointed out – it creates an unenforceable and unconstitutional paradox. Any little town in any state can force a crime to be committed by some online service that said little town finds obscene.

    IMO, this is not necessarily the beginning of a crackdown on internet porn across the nation. It’s more of a publicity/make an example type of situation. Whoever planned this is probably hoping that it makes news and that other sexually conservative communities will pick up the mantle.

    Could it be upheld by the SCOTUS? Who knows. It seems unlikely but strange things are happening.

    As an aside, an incident like this represents drawing a line in the sand. Some Floridians decided they were mad as hell at perverted internet porn and weren’t going to take it any more. The fact is that a lot of people are scared of the dangers the internet poses (both real and imagined). The more scared they get, the more emboldened they feel about imposing their moral code on everybody else. Of course, they don’t see it that way. They see themselves as great champions. I have a hunch that we are going to see a lot more hardening of the lines in the culture war this decade.

    If I were a video producer, like say, Punished Brats, I would be a little nervous (might consider stop offering subscriptions to customers in Florida, Georgia, and Alabama). But, I would think that PB would probably be one of the last producers to be targeted, because (a) they are small, (b) there’s negligable nudity, and (c) hell, everybody likes spanking! especially down south!

  4. This former optimist is now convinced. Our country has gone insane.

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