15 May 2009

Out of the Way Yankee! A British Person Wants to Air His Opinion!

Alright, so it's none of my business really, not:
  • being American
  • being gay
  • being married
  • intending to get married
  • being gay married or intending to get gay married
  • being in the slightest bit interested in beauty contests
  • being a Christian or even religious
  • generally caring where other men put their willies
But I've still decided to wade into the Carrie Prejean debate. Here she is, bravely speaking to the press, despite having been silenced, and continuing to stand up for her beliefs, despite the incalculable risk a raised profile may pose to her career.
Now she invokes the idea of "freedoms", especially "freedom of speech" and being "punished" for her opinions. She also claims she didn't plan to be at the centre of a media firestorm. Your heart bleeds, doesn't it? Now I'm pretty sure she had hoped to be in the public eye, the thing with the photos is more a copyright and ownership issue, but it's the "freedom of speech" bit that gets me. She seems to think freedom of speech is the right not to be criticised for your opinions. She seems to think free speech means everybody else shutting their gob if they disagree with the content of your speech. Which is just like our politically incorrect brigade on my side of the pond. You know the ones. The ones who never shut up about being a silent majority and who you constantly hear complaining about their opinions being stifled. The "You can't even say you're terrified of Muslims without being called an Islamophobe" lot. Them.

So I think we need to clarify what freedom of expression actually is. Freedom of expression does not extend to:
  1. Shouting 'fire' in a crowded theatre
  2. Making public statements expressing fuckwitted bigotry and expecting not to be publicly vilified as a bigoted fuckwit

Another person, by the way, who utterly failed to understand this principle is Bill O'Reilly.

But to summarise: "Freedom of speech" does not mean "shut up".

No comments:

Post a Comment