I truly hate terrorists; not only for the wholesale brutality, killing or the rape and
subjugation of women and children. Any of the three would be more than enough reason.
No, I hate them because they bring us outside of ourselves. They thrust us directly into dangerous chaos and force us to make decisions or react quickly; sometimes too quickly for our own good. Our outrage at what’s transpired causes us oftentimes to go off half-cocked, emotions all ablaze, without a true plan in mind and often, without an exit strategy of what we’ll do once the initial hostilities are over with. In such a way, our nationalist pride is inflamed.
After the attack on the office of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, there was an outpouring of chest-thumping national and global pride geared towards a defense of free speech. With cries of Je Suis Charlie, it seemed every motherfucker in the world was down with the outrage and wanted retribution. It’s cool, I get that. It’s just that I wonder what right we’re actually standing up for; the right to free expression or the right to insult.
After listening to everyone exclaim so assuredly what the fuck they think free speech is and what it should bring to the table, I’m more of a mind to talk about what free speech isn’t. I’m sure it’s going to piss some people off but fuck it. Je Suis Charlie, remember?
Free Speech is not frivolous
Let’s remember what this is about and how such a right came to pass. Let’s never forget the necessity that marked the beginning and the dark years that transpired before. Even keeping in mind how tenuous a hold we have on it, can we truly say that in the democratic society of modern times, free speech is being threatened? There were serious concerns that gave birth to this new age freedom and not just a bunch of cats getting together to make an elusive point or to sell some motherfuckin’ newspapers. Because it’s something we’re willing it seems to fucking die for, free speech when it’s applied, should be applied seriously.
Free Speech shouldn’t be vulgar or hateful
Unless of course, you’re trying to emulate those dumbass motherfucking Klansmen or people like them. Those sons-of-bitches don’t have a fucking clue; always hiding behind free speech to spread a hateful message. On the other hand, free speech demands that they and others like them, be allowed to voice their opinions, however irreverent. It’s what Charlie Hebdo did; by all accounts, they were a funny, yet vulgar, in your face publication. Problem is like kids learning and using their first curse words, some cats will evoke the power of free speech just to get their jolly shit off; fuck a point that needs to be made. And as much as I get it, I’m nevertheless of a mind to utilize such a cherished and useful right for something a bit more, I don’t know, upscale?
Free Speech is not irresponsible
We’ve all heard the example of not being able to yell Fire! in a crowded movie theater. Moreover, entities that have the public ear and can affect the public’s actions and consciousness should take care and err on the side of caution. They should ask themselves if what they are trying to say is worth the risk of the possible repercussions. After all, we’re talking about national, and many times these days, even global concerns that bring global conflagrations. With the storied tradition of its needed beginning, I’d hate for free speech to be the solemn and cherished right that starts WWIII. Don’t laugh motherfuckers, it could happen.
Free Speech is not free
There have always been consequences when the right of free speech is enacted; always. Our country’s forefathers had to leave their homes and travel across the world in order to speak and worship freely. This is probably a grander example of what I mean but there is another easier one to digest. Say a man walks down the street, spots another man or woman, and decides to cuss them out. “Hey fat motherfucker! Yeah, you!! Fuck you! Fuck your mom! And fuck your dad, you sorry son-of-a-bitch! The obvious result would be a beat down; somebody’s going to kick the shit kicked out of them.
Free Speech is not freedom to insult
The bottom line is that while free speech gives one the right to speak openly it is not carte-blanche to insult another willy-motherfucking-nilly. Or, is it? Truthfully, I think it’s something many citizens, not only Charlie Hebdo, conveniently forget. Particularly when the other party is a minority or someone else equally disenfranchised, a third world country or a religion that many of us just don’t understand, we’ll get on a high horse and think that we got it like that. But in the real world, there’s always a crazy motherfucker out there who’ll be more than happy to show you that you don’t; especially after you’ve insulted his ass.
Moving forward as we mourn the 12 killed in the Paris attack, I’m just saying that maybe there’s a better way; a safer and more peaceful way to poke a bit of fun at a group without insulting them in a manner that forces them to respond. There’s a better way to do so and show them that, even though I’m lampooning you, I still respect you. After all, people are touchy out there and the world doesn’t need any more fucking spoons in it than what it already motherfuckin’ has.
Photo – Cover of Charlie Hebdo, newspaper in France. Speech bubble reads “100 lashes if you don’t die of laughter!”. The red banner reads obscuring the logo reads “Weekly Sharia”.
“Charliehebdo” by Charlie Hebdo – volokh.com. Via Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Charliehebdo.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Charliehebdo.jpg