Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speech’

By R.C. Seely

“HUGH HEFNER WAS A CREEPY old pornographer. So why is the left celebrating him,” that was an article from conservative Ben Shapiro, shortly after Hefner’s passing. A little bit of an exaggeration there, Ben. The Washington Post‘s article covered the “darkside of Playboy” and the Time magazine headline “No, Hefner didn’t love women” doesn’t sound like the adoration they had of President Obama. Even Hitler was treated more amiably by Time getting the status of “Man of the Year.”

Going through the articles about Hefner’s passing it was more of an accurate account of his life… or hit pieces. Not exactly the collective demonstration of support for the deceased life’s work. I find amusing and noteworthy is this bizzaro world level shift of perspective, by both sides.

Shapiro is generally a defender of Capitalism and at odds with radical feminists, but here he is on the same side. That’s curious. Oh, that’s right, it’s that whole personality morality versus Freedom of Speech thing again. As long as Shapiro sticks to moral preening I really don’t care, it’s if he calls for action that concerns me. If you look at porn, it makes no difference to me; if you find it degrading to women and disgusting, that’s fine with me too. It’s when the line gets crossed and another prohibition is suggested that I care–because such things are so effective anyway.

And they are, when it comes to increasing government control but sooner or later the censorship bleeds over to an area of expression that will affect you. That’s how it works, for a moralist conservative a prohibition on porn is the “crisis that can’t go to waste.” Did you find a seat next to Gloria Stenim? Maybe the two of you can have a nice little chat about your children or how all men are evil and deserved to be forcibly castrated. Expect her husband or the chosen “breeders.”

I’m all for working with allies who you differ with on other issues but Shapiro and other moralist are on the wrong side of this issue, if not why would he have written an article with such hyperbole in the title alone.

At best, they considered him a Titan of Industry in his field, a statement that one would expect from Shapiro about anyone else… as long as they don’t violate his morals. The “leftists” for once are giving the businessman credit and the “conservative” is berating him. Stand back for a minute and think about that, it’s funny.

This is not a recent fight either, the struggles between the theocratic officials and expressive artists, was raging in Europe during the Age of Enlightenment and earlier. The leaders of early Christianity wanted to add blackbars to the greatest works of art because back then it was viewed as scandalous, not much has changed but this is America not Europe. We have the right express ourselves, all of us. The artists, the theocrats and the social critics–such as myself.

Anyone who tries to censor either side in this is in the wrong, I don’t know if Ben Shapiro would support such efforts. I would like to believe he wouldn’t but moralists rarely support freedom for those they disagree with. He supports restrictions on abortion (not just the ones on partial birth and ending federal funding, as I do), he supports the war on drugs, he supports licensing for marriage, and I’d imagine would support restrictions on sex and violence in media. Hey, Hillary Clinton supports that kind censorship, Sharipo can have a long talk with her after he’s done with Stenim. Just stay on topic or you’ll get the cold shoulder like John Stossel.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. He has also written books about pop culture the most recent Victims of White Male How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.

By R.C. Seely

RECENTLY COMEDIAN KATHY GRIFFIN MADE a serious faux pas with a pictorial depiction of herself holding the severed head of Donald Trump and she unleashed a massive amount of backlash for it. Surprisingly it has not only been ardent Trump supporters to voice their disapproval but those who despise Trump as well. Chelsea Clinton, daughter of Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton referred to the picture as “vile and wrong.” In a Twitter post she went on to say “It is never funny to joke about killing a president.”

    CNN Communications tweeted “CNN has terminated our agreement with Kathy Griffin to appear on our New Year’s Eve program.” And this is not the only job opportunity rescended to Griffin, the company that produces the Squatty Potty–a line of toilet footstools, if you were curious–has also dropped her. In part of his statement, chief executive Bobby Edwards declared, “It was deeply inappropriate and runs contrary to the core values our company stands for.”

    It’s not only her career that could be in jeopardy for this stunt that Griffin admitted, she “went too far.” This has attracted the attention of the presidential body guards, the Secret Service. Tweeting that “threats against @SecretService protectees receive the highest priority of all our investigations.” Would you mind telling where the actual “threat” is? Griffin never said she was going to commit the actual beheading of the president, the picture could be loosely interpretive to that, but even that’s a bit of a stretch. And a statement of the death of political leaders in effigy is part of this country, even before the country in fact. To rally support of independence dummies of England’s King were basically tortured and “killed.” An act like this is at least partially responsible for the founding of this nation. Apparently the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) doesn’t see it this way. VFW Commander Brian Duffy, argues that it “was not humourous nor should it be protected speech or expression.” Well, the first part I do agree but not the second. I’m not going to dispute how much of an “incredibly revolting attack on the President of the United States,” as Duffy puts it, that this picture represents. It’s his right to say that and I support and defend that right. This is what Griffin’s critics get wrong, that because “their guy” is being figuratively assaulted that amounts the same thing as an actual assault. Did you know that you can get 10 years in prison for threatening the President? For threatening him! A bit excessive for a statement I’d say. I get it, the death–especially a successful assassination–of the President would send the nation into turmoil but this still seems extreme. And no matter what, if an assassin is truly dedicated to “getting rid of the tyrant,” they will find a way. Many in the past have sent letters to their intended victims before hand, but generally it’s been multiple volumes, not a single ill-advised letter or picture.

    Much of the criticism was aimed at how grotesque and not humourous the image. This Griffin admitted in her apology on Instagram, “I’m a comic. I cross the line. I move the line, then I cross it. I went way too far. The image is too disturbing…. It wasn’t funny. I get it.” Thing is, it was never really supposed to be funny. It was a satrical piece that was intentionally provocative. That’s​ why she collaborated with photographer Sheilds who has made his mark in the world of art through similar pieces. His comments confirm this, “she [Griffin] said, ‘I’d love to do something political. I’d love to make a statement.” Congratulations, Kathy Griffin you did just that.

    With freedom of speech comes the acceptance that, at times there are consequences. Some are valid like losing a job, others not so much, like losing your freedom because of a strictly hypothetical “threat.” Griffin and possibly her co-conspirator, Sheilds may have to suffer both. The first is simply part of the free market at work, second is part of the authoritarian state flexing it’s muscle. No one who truly believes in the First Amendment should be applauding the possibility of Griffin facing incarceration. It’s Sheilds that puts it the best, “I love the idea we have freedom of speech. The fact that I’m allowed to make an image like this says a lot. To me, that’s a powerful thing … nobody’s killed me for this image.” And hopefully it never comes to that.

R.C. Seely is the founder of americanuslibertae.com and ALTV. His most recent book, Victims of White Male: How Victim Culture Victimizes Society is available at Amazon.