Free Speech for Dummies

Free Speech for Dummies

Yesterday we had a real "Don't Read the Comments" Day on the internet.

But, Jules, every day is a "Don't Read the Comments" Day on the internet.

You speak the truth, other me. But yesterday was the day where two big news stories caused the Anti-PC Police and the First Amendment Rangers to come out of the woodwork.

First, a Blackhawks player and millennial person (that's seriously the extent of my knowledge about Andrew Shaw or any hockey player) used the F-word to describe one of the game's officials after a perceived bad call. No, not that F-word. The other F-word, the one that should not be anywhere near a twenty-something's vernacular due to the fact that it has been considered a pretty darn evil slur for quite some time now. The simple fact that the word was so close to his lips during a moment of frustration is upsetting to me. That tells me he's used it before, that it flows easily from him. Just like how the phrase "ass face" flows easily from my lips when a STARhole cuts me off in traffic.

Secondly, bloody sock baron, Curt Shilling of the baseballs, was fired from ESPN for, basically, every meme he's posted on Facebook over the past few years. You know the memes. Your cousin who thinks FOX News is part of the liberal media, SHEEPLE, posts the same ones.

If you read the comments under the articles reporting on either of these incidents, you saw people complaining about FREE SPEECH rights, and, whoa, this country has gone to a PC hell in a hand basket.

But, A) really think about your life if you're defending someone using a slur that an entire group of people finds offensive, a word WE ALL know better than to use. I'm sure Andrew Shaw (and Curt Shilling, sure) is a lovely person in real life, but he was in the wrong here. There are WAAAY better words to use. Like ass face, for example.

And B) these incidents are actually two examples of the First Amendment at work. Yes, their companies punished them for stepping out of line. Companies have the right to control and protect their brand. Companies are not the government (but they are people, for some reason). If you were to show up at work today and shout loudly over all the cubicles about how Margery in finance is a *#&$*ing *#@&#% *$^#%# *slur*, you might expect a wrist slap from your boss, at the very least.

You have the right to say what you want and not be arrested for it, but that doesn't mean there aren't consequences. That doesn't mean you won't end up meeting with HR. That doesn't mean your sister, Becky, won't stop talking to you because you said her husband looks like the love child of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Words have meaning. Words have consequences.

Now, on the other hand, if Obama and his jackbooted soldiers had shown up at Andrew Shaw's house the other night with handcuffs and a black-and-white striped jumpsuit, you'd hear everybody screaming "First Amendment!" Even me.

 

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