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Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Freedom of Speech

Apparently someone thinks my little blog is the right forum to advertise the joys of Internet gambling. I e-mailed the guy's website to note the fact that he forgot to pay me for that.

Which brings me to today's topic, freedom of speech and its appropriate limitations. I would like to call myself a "First Amendment Absolutist" as I once heard the great Kurt Vonnegut call himself. But sometimes I can't help but want to smack fools in the face just for livin'. Here in Chicagoland, the local supervillain known as "PreppieNazi" or in his civilian identity, Matthew Hale, was found guilty of conspiring to kill a judge today. I'm not really familiar with the case but a lot of people wonder if he's not being found guilty for his beliefs rather than his actions. A question to ponder. The authorities have been trying to nail him since his henchman went on a killing spree against Jewish and African-American targets in the summer of '99. Ah, the summer of '99...good times. I mean, unrelated to the killings. Sorry, that was a bad tangent to go off on. But I'm a bad person. Anyway, it was never quite established in the case of the spree killings, or the recent conspiracy against the judge, if Hale had said "Jews and African-Americans suck. I sure hate them." Or, "Hey you know what, you should go out and kill some Jews and African-Americans." The former, obviously is free expression, the latter is conspiracy to commit murder. I got into arguments with friends about it, when I said Hale should at least be investigated. I mean, I'm totally a card carrying ACLU type, artists should create art, pornographers should create porn, and Nazis should create Nazism. It's what they do. But giving support to someone who shoots people from a car isn't making a statement, it's terrorism. Why am I talking about this? I don't know. Why is anyone talking about anything.

I guess it reminds me of another scary news story about things Scary Crazy Dickheads are saying, in this case some radical Islamic types in London. They're openly calling for the death of Tony Blair (who I think is an awfully nice guy, yes he was toolish to go along with the Iraq war but I don't think he had much choice) and fly an "Islamic flag" over 10 Downing Street. They're basically talking about the conquest of western Europe, which may sound silly and farfeched but there's a real danger of some serious violence there. Much more there than here actually, given demographics. The article I read also stated for the record that the vast majority of British Pakistanis are condemning the crazy people. Still, I don't know, it made me angry. It made me wonder about what free speech is, and whether it really makes sense to kind of stand around being British while fascist religious maniacs are talking about cutting your head off. I've always been kind of an anglophile, which I guess is strange for an Irish American but I'm strange in many ways. For some reason the idea of an enemy flag flying over 10 Downing Street is much more disturbing than the White House, Anyone But Bush and all that. Yeah, I know the British did a lot of bad things when they were an empire, raped, pillaged, slaughtered innocent millions, created a lot of the fucked up situations in the Middle East in the first place, etc. but they also gave us Shakespeare, the Beatles and Monty Python so I'm inclined to like them. I read the words announcing the destruction of western civilization and I wanted to look these cocky fanatics in the eye and tell them about the legend of the island they're standing on, how throughout history its people never backed down and never said die, and I wanted to spit the words of its national anthem in their faces, "Britons never, never never shall be slaves, motherfucker."

That's a slightly revised version of the British national anthem. Well, James Bond's gonna kick their asses anyway.

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