Sunday, March 11, 2012

Rush Limbaugh & Mike Doonesbury

So are you a "Dump Rush" but a "Keep Doonesbury" liberal. Or perhaps a "Burn Doonesbury" and "Liberate Limbaugh" conservative. Or might you be a independent free-thinker who can go both ways?

It seems Garry Trudeau has gone too far with this coming week's strips and has, as one editor put it - "created content that is inappropriate alongside Garfield and The Duplex." I don't know what The Duplex is, but I certainly don't want the existential insight of a big orange cartoon cat sullied by Trudeau's pinko political observations. Oh wait, I do want that!

You will have to excuse me but the 124 republican primary debates have got my political priorities so turned around that I just can't think straight. And if women seeking reproductive services are as confused as I am, well perhaps a 72 waiting period is not long enough. Heavens knows women tend to me more easily upset by these things than us men and look how confused all of this debate has gotten me. I mean a panel of thoughtful middle-aged Texas men might be the best way to make decisions about war, taxes and those sensitive vaginal issues.

On the other hand if what you want is to either shut Rush up or stop the Doonesbury strips from running in your local paper - You, my friend, are engaging in censorship. Cut it any way you like perhaps the free market reacting to Rush's stupidity and pulling advertising from his show. Or the newspaper editor protecting his readers from social commentary on the comic pages. Right, left, extremist, patriot, fundamentalist, parent, christian, liberal, social conservative - use any label you like - you are advocating censorship.

You may not be able to shout "Fire" in a crowded theatre but saying "slut" on the radio or mentioning a "transvaginal exam" in the funny papers, these are not utterances worth sacrificing the First Amendment. You all remember that amendment right, it's why I can write what I want in this blog and citizens of North Korea, Iran and Syria are murdered by their governments for even attempting something as subversive as free speech.


TrumpinJoe said...

In the free market system, individual entities are free to publish or not publish as they choose without GOVERNMENT intrusion or coercion. Editors making choices is not against the First Amendment. The government dictating content is.

That said, I prefer to make my own choices as to what I read and don't read.

The Shrink said...

Several well-read and well-respected individuals have made the point that the power of the 'state' is inherent in censorship. I think 'church and state' might be a more reasonable definition. I hold to a broader view, when I seek to prevent anyone from speaking in any way through any means, including a boycott, I am responsible for inhibiting speech. I certainly understand this is a tight-ass rule and I seek to enforce it only upon myself, which does not mean I would not suggest a similar policy to readers and friends.

BJ Nemeth said...

Freedom of Speech applies to everyone, not just pundits like Rush Limbaugh.

What about the Freedom of Speech of the radio stations that syndicate his program, or the advertisers who buy his commercial time? What about the Freedom of Speech of the newspapers that publish Doonesbury cartoons?

Rush Limbaugh doesn't have a "right" to broadcast his thoughts on a channel he doesn't own or control, nor does a cartoonist have a "right" for his cartoons to appear in a specific newspaper.

You said, "I hold to a broader view, when I seek to prevent anyone from speaking in any way through any means, including a boycott, I am responsible for inhibiting speech."

Would you allow a 9/11 conspiracy theorist or a holocaust denier the full use of your blog to push his or her agenda? I doubt it, and that is your right, because you control this little corner of the internet. But does that mean you are silencing their speech? No, because they have other options.

Rush Limbaugh is free to say the things he says. He can publish those thoughts on a blog, he can print them out and publish a newsletter, he can record a podcast, and he can even video himself and upload it to YouTube. He has an amazing level of Freedom of Speech.

But advertisers also have the Freedom of Speech to pull their advertising, and radio stations have the Freedom of Speech to stop syndicating his program.

Remember back in 2003 when the Dixie Chicks made anti-George Bush comments, and there was a big backlash as fans destroyed their albums and country radio stations stopped playing their music? The Dixie Chicks argued that their Right to Free Speech was being suppressed, but they had it exactly backward -- their fans and the country radio stations were simply expressing *their* Right to Free Speech.

The Shrink said...

. . . and as has been true often in the past BJ, we disagree from the same side of the aisle.

The Shrink said...

. . . other friends agree