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Free Speech… Sometimes

I'm in favor of free speech. I'm in favor of free speech all the time. Not sometimes; always.

The link above describes the case of a comic book store clerk who was arrested and faces up to two years in prison for being the clerk at the time a cop purchased a comic book containing pictures of women essentially having sex with trees (which, it turns out, are just demons seeking world domination).

Thing is, I don't care what was in the comic book. Someone was expressing themselves, and others may wish to buy those expressions. Furthermore, as many of us know, cartoons and comics have a whole different set of rules in Japan, where these comics originated, and may not even be terribly offensive.

I'm not into comic books at all, but I know who Scott McCloud is, and when he testifies to the value and worth of a comic series, I listen. The thing is nobody should have had to listen to Scott McCloud because this trial - and the arrest - should have never happened. As I see it, no laws were broken.

We can't enforce free speech "when we feel like it" or "when we agree with what the person is saying." Women having sex with trees? Not something of which I wish to partake. Throwing someone in jail for working in or owning a comic book shop which sells someone else's work depicting women having sex with trees (as part of a larger plot)? Sickening.

5 Responses to "Free Speech… Sometimes"

  1. A surprising lot of people are against free speech, i.e. they favor "free speech if it isn't nasty or bad", which equates to not free speech.

  2. What Tomas said, and I'm not surprised to find him here. 🙂

    There is a certain kind of people who thinks "free speech for everyone, as long as they say things I approve of." These are generally the same people who think "Life should be fair for everyone, but extra fair for me."

  3. Free speech gets lost in favor of political correctness usually. god forbid you say what is on your mind for fear you offend someone.

  4. Political correctness is a form of barring one's free speech, I think. It has become quite evident to me that free speech is only valid if everyone seems to agree with that speech. What people don't seem to realize is that free speech was made to protect people who say things that are both popular and unpopular.

  5. I can't believe tax dollars were spent on this. I'm not even clear what the charge was. Being manager of a store that sold a publication with a drawing of a woman connected to a tree? It was in the adult section, right? 180 days in prision and $4,000. Is that really just? I have to believe there was something that was a bigger threat to the populous than this.

    I mean, what's the absolute worst case scenario here? Customers see drawings of women connected to trees. It's strange, but it's hardly going to ruin your life. The worst part is seeing something that you don't think you should be allowed to see. That allows someone to be the victim. Then they claim they're fighting for something, but they're really just throwing a temper tantrum to get attention. There are things that are worth standing up for, and then there's trivial stuff like this that's just a waste of time.

    Although it wasn't mentioned, I wonder if the demon aspect was a factor?

    - Scott