I Hate Gays Because FREE SPEECH; or, Why We Should All Get Over The Duck Dynasty Fad Already

HA!

Okay, first: I don’t hate gays. I love the gays. I love the straights too. I am a straight, I have a bagillion gay and lesbian friends. An old friend took his own life a few years back because of a depression stemming over his family’s rejection of his homosexuality. If my children ever come home and tell me they are gay, not a damn thing will change. I’m not going to tap dance around this for fear of losing followers: I believe in equality for the homosexual community in every way, shape, and form. People are people, regardless of what they do in the bedroom.

If you have a problem with that, you can get the fuck off my blog page. Now.

I’m Catholic. That means I’m a Christian, by virtue of the fact that the Catholics worship and try to follow the teachings of … wait for it … Christ. Christ (the bearded guy who died for all our sins – sins I can only assume did in fact include ancient-style homophobic hatred) preached one thing above all others: love.

Love, motherfuckers. LOVE.

Not judge. Not hate. Not make moral judgments for which you have limited moral understanding. Not claim that you could actually – in a million years – know with absolute certainty God’s agenda.

Love. That’s it.

So are we clear on these things before I go on? Okay, great.

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So this whole Phil Robertson-Duck Dynasty thing has got me super riled up. It didn’t start out that way. At first I didn’t care, because seriously I do not understand why in the actual fuck the world is so enamored with those long-bearded hillbillies. Then as the day wore on, I saw more and more people on Facebook and Twitter and all of the other areas of the Internets (which I am now convinced should really be called the “Everyone’s An Expert Soap Box”) claiming that this guy’s right to free speech was being violated because he was suspended from the show for making homophobic comments. Phil Robertson for President Facebook pages were popping up. Keep Calm and Boycott A&E shirts were being sold.

Put down your shot guns and slow your fucking roll, hillbillies!

My friend Ava over at Journey of Jordanna East said it perfectly: “One of the biggest problems with America is that Americans don’t actually know how their own country works. It’s so sad.”

It is true that we have a freedom to speak what’s on our mind in this country. That is – essentially – the essence of the first amendment, though there are limitations. One of those limitations is that it truly is with regards to free speech on government matters. And it does not protect freedom of speech in areas like sedition or treason. I could continue, but this is a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo that’s deviating from the point. Did Phil Robertson have the right to make whatever homophobic, racial, or otherwise comments he wanted? Sure. Of course he did.

That right to say whatever he wanted, though, did not in any way, shape, or form protect him from the consequences of those hateful and hurtful words. That’s just not the way the constitution works.

People don’t seem to have gotten that, though. In fact, even when confronted with this logical discussion, and the basic facts of the constitution, people just seemed to be screaming louder and louder – FREE SPEECH FREE SPEECH. As if just saying that over and over again will refute any and all truth.

1504935_586891554731885_366015547_nAnd as the day wore on, it got worse. Suddenly the world of Twitter was discussing what everyone’s opinions about the first amendment and the definition of free speech is. I’m sorry, huh? Opinions? Interpretations? We aren’t talking about varying interpretations of the color of a person’s bowel movements here. We’re talking about an empirical and constitutionally upheld fact. Are you on the Supreme Court? Then all your fucking opinions are INVALID.

Here we have the reason why I think it’s about time we all get over the Duck Dynasty fad the nation has been enthralled in for years now: all this hillbilly TV has just further contributed to our collective stupidity. Instead of learning about things like the actual freedoms protected by the constitution, we slap ourselves down on the couch for six hours of television every, single night. We scream FREE SPEECH from behind the safety of our computers, all the while refusing to actually read about and understand what freedom of speech really is. And we do it not only behind the security of a computer screen, but under the sanctity of our religious views.

This is why so many people think religious people are ignorant anyway – because they choose ignorance over intelligence time and again, out of laziness and a general sense that saying something (FREE SPEECH!!!!!) over and over again will make it actually come true.

But it doesn’t make it true, no matter how many times you say it; and it doesn’t make Jesus love you, because Jesus does not love bigots. No matter how much the constitution guarantees their rights to proclaim that bigotry.

The thing that is so fascinating to me about the Phil Robertson/Duck Dynasty controversy is that people seem to be too chicken shit to actually say they want him to stay on the show because they hate the gays too. I mean some people are saying it, but more are just screaming that freedom of speech line and claiming Robertson had the right to speak “God’s plan.” Why all these smoke screens? Why not be real and say that you hate the gays too? That the thought of gay sex is icky to you and, therefore, Robertson can say and do whatever he wants?

Is it because of some fear that there may actually be consequences of you exercising your own free speech as well? But if you acknowledge that, then of course you’d have to accept A&E’s suspensions, which would then require you to acknowledge just how inherently wrong others in the world think your hate is.

I hate gays because FREE SPEECH? I love everyone just because.

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Looks Like SOPA Dropped the Soap

There is nothing in this world that I dislike more than feeling morally obligated to participate in a protest. They are usually just so time consuming and messy; and it typically just makes me more jaded about the world in general as a result of the number of people that are there yet unaware of why. I will never forget the time my boss sent me to a protest of some health care thing when I worked for the AFL-CIO, only to feel like complete shit about my own life afterwards because I was fighting for health insurance for a group of workers when I, myself, was not being given health insurance by my employer that sent me there in the first place. Protests can be effective, but they can also be very ineffective, and in many ways.

But this SOPA/PIPA deal is a whole other ball game.

You all know how I feel about the film industry. If you don’t, you can get an idea by reading the Open Letter to the Film Industry I wrote a while back when I was pissed off about how many hours my husband was working for not one red penny of extra pay. In a nut shell, the film industry ranks up there pretty high alongside protests with things in this world that I really dislike. Not only do I feel that it is in some ways responsible for the end of my career in academia (for there are few philosophers in Hollywood, and yet Hollywood is where the husband must stay); but so much about it just reeks of greed, insensitivity, and a way of thinking that is inconsistent with the moral right. The film industry days of Cary Grant and Gloria Swanson have been gone for a long time; replaced by an industry that identifies everything by the almighty dollar. SOPA and it’s lame ass cousin, PIPA, are just more of that.

Now I’m not going to sit here and give you all a Congressional rundown of what SOPA and PIPA are because you should know that. If you don’t, read the news or hit up Wikipedia; of course this will also require that you get your head out of the ground for a few minutes, which I’m not sure a lot of people are all-too-willing to do. So I won’t go much beyond saying that they are bills working their way through Congress that are intended to strengthen the film (and, in some senses, music) industry against online piracy. (And if you still can’t find the information, just read the Wikipedia on it; although at midnight EST, Wiki will be protesting as well by enforcing an entire-site outage for 24 hours.)

I will, however, explain quite clearly what is wrong with SOPA.

SOPA/PIPA is an utter violation of our First Amendment right to freedom of speech.

It is a slippery slope when you start writing bills that give people the opportunity to whistle blow or claim false copyright/piracy infringement on intellectual property, which SOPA and PIPA both do. Perhaps the most frightening aspects of the bill are in the consequences: that search engines like Google could be forced to stop indexing articles written by a so-called offender; that Internet Service Providers be required to block access to any site participating in or related to the supposed violation.

While I am all for an end to piracy, censorship and directly stripping the rights guaranteed as a part of being a “free” individual is not the way to do it.

So it looks like SOPA dropped the soap…

Yesterday, Wikipedia announced that it will be participating in an international protest of SOPA by “going dark;” today, Google followed up by committing to an inclusion of the protest on the homepage of Google products. At the latest check about one hour ago, over 7,000 additional websites have committed to go down, displaying nothing more than a message of protest when visitors visit the page from 12:00 am – 11:59 pm on January 18th. Hundreds of bloggers are jumping on the bandwagon as well – as writing, journalism, and blogging are among the most vulnerable groups that will be adversely affected by the proposed bills.

So it looks like SOPA has officially dropped the soap, for I fully expect that the outrage these bills have inspired will kill them quicker than the innocence of a new guy in the prison ward. As annoying as it may be to have so many websites we use on a daily basis down, and as stupid as it is that we have to launch an international protest over something that should be common sense – protest really seems to be the only morally right option.

There are better ways to protect the film and music industry without destroying the free speech of all.

To be honest, after being married to someone who works in the film industry, I am in no way surprised that it has made it this far. The film industry is run by primarily greedy, selfish people – people that care only about the bottom line dollar amount that makes its way into their pockets. They will screw anyone and everyone to get ahead, and the worst part is that the people that work within the film industry don’t even recognize this. The bias most people within the industry carry blinds them to a myriad of injustices that they unintentionally contribute to – from bad labor practices to unfair wages to these issues of censorship. But that doesn’t make it any less sickening to see the special interests of a handful threatening the rights and freedoms of everyone.

So, faithful blog followers, I’m sad to say that the B(itch)Log will be taken down for the 24 hour protest, and many of my blogging counterparts plan to do the same. I apologize for the inconvenience, although I’m fairly certain the only ones who will be truly inconvenienced are all these weirdos looking for photos of a Korean hooker. I hope the rest of you do the same as I am – call your local representative, take down your site, refuse to be censored. It is so much more difficult to get your freedom of speech back once it has been taken away. I hate protests. But I hate the silencing of my voice even more.