Tag Archives: free press

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This past Wednesday, May 1, Facebook scolded me.  They issued a dire warning that – I guess – was supposed to frighten me and make me reconsider my entire purpose in life and how I fit into this complicated universe.  Apparently, some gentle soul was offended by a post I’d made the day before.  I used the ‘f’ word in response to the story of Jason Collins, the Washington Wizards player who came out and admitted he’s gay.  Here’s part of what I originally wrote:

‘God forbid some pro athlete should come out of the closet and admit he’s queer!  I mean, it’s okay to have wife beaters (or baby mama beaters) and drug addicts in the locker room, but fags just won’t be permitted.’

When I logged onto Facebook Thursday morning, I received a message telling me the post had been removed because of the “offensive language.”  It also referred me to their “Terms of Service,” which warned about “hate speech” and other admonitions.   Keep in mind this is the same web site with groups called ‘Fucktards Need Not Apply’ and ‘Shit That Makes Me Laugh.’  In fact, I’ve seen the words ‘fucktard’ and ‘shit’ in comments all over the site, along with other equally colorful terms.

I don’t know who got upset enough to report me to Mark Zuckerberg.  They were allowed to remain hidden behind their computer, while Facebook’s treacherous Word Police invaded my profile overnight and hurriedly stripped away the horrid verbiage.  Finally, with the hateful terminology safely obliterated, the pack of Silicon Valley 20-somethings dispatched their carefully-worded ‘Don’t You Dare’ message.  For that one terrifying moment, it took my breath away.  Then, I realized I just had gas.

This whole fiasco reminds me of the time in February 2008 when I posted a message on AOL in response to a comment someone had made.  They had a story about how Christopher Columbus tricked the indigenous Taino people of Jamaica in 1504 by telling them that, if they didn’t provide him and his crew with food, he’d make the sun disappear on February 29.  He knew that a lunar eclipse was imminent on that day.  The Taino didn’t believe him – until the eclipse occurred.  Then, they were terrified and bowed to his commands.  If Columbus had been somewhere on the mainland, say in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan, or the Inca capital of Machu Picchu, they’d probably laugh and skewer his Italian ass.  Remember, the Aztecs and the Incas charted the stars with amazing accuracy, as did many other Native Americans societies.  Columbus simply lucked out that he was in the midst of people who were slightly less educated.  As I perused the comments in response to the brief editorial, I noticed some idiot had posted something like, ‘No one has suffered like the Jewish people.’  First of all, Jews had nothing to do with the story.  Second, it always pisses me off whenever some Jews think they’ve suffered more than the indigenous peoples of the Americas.  So I replied, saying something like, ‘Pardon my extreme political incorrectness, but Jews haven’t suffered one bit anywhere in the Western Hemisphere in comparison to the Indians and the Negroes.’  I went on to use the word – brace yourself – ‘bullshit.’  I think I even threw ‘fuck’ into the mix just because it was the kosher thing to do.  Then, at some point, someone got their feelings hurt and complained to AOL who then wreaked revenge by removing my capacity to make comments for a week.  Oh, God!  I was devastated!  I had to drink half a bottle of wine and masturbate for an hour to get over the trauma.  And, of course, the offended person remained hidden; a troubled spirit in the digital night – never to be seen or heard from again.

Now, this shit with Facebook.

Somewhere along the keyboard, my intentions got lost.  I don’t hate homosexuals.  In fact, some of my best friends are homosexualites.  Hell, I’ve had my own sexual encounters with other men – including myself!  But, my comments centered on the irony – hypocrisy – over the hype surrounding Collins’ announcement.  It’s pathetic to see professional athletes reacting with such vitriol at the thought of a homosexual in their midst.  Consider that pro sports is rife with wife-beaters (or baby mama beaters); infidelity; drug addicts; drunk drivers, etc.  How many times have you heard of professional male athletes going out to bars or strip clubs and getting into fights?  How many of these guys have been tagged for steroid abuse in recent years?  I guess it’s okay for a pro athlete to beat the crap out of his wife or girlfriend, but they obviously draw the line at queers in the shower.  I mean, they have standards, right?

Considering that today is World Press Freedom Day and I’m a strong free speech advocate, I won’t apologize if anyone was offended by a briefly-worded post on Facebook.  I made no threats and didn’t slander anyone.

But, I’m glad to know I pissed off someone.  I learned years ago that trying to please everyone will lead to complete insanity, so annoying somebody enough to feel that have to contact an authority figure gives me the utmost pleasure.  Some folks are so sensitive you’d think they’d just had 3 orgasms in a row!  Believe me – I know from experience.  Either way, life isn’t worth living if you don’t piss off a few people here and there.  At least they know you who you are!  And, that you’re not afraid to speak.

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World Press Freedom Day 2013

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Today, May 3, 2013, is World Press Freedom Day, a day to celebrate and honor the value of a free press.  It started in 1993, when the United Nations General Assembly decided to highlight the need for truly independent media – free of censorship.  In scores of countries around the world, media outlets are banned from presenting controversial subjects.  Journalists, editors and publishers have been harassed, injured and even murdered amidst valiant efforts to publicize the truth about an event or a circumstance.  In the past decade, some 600 journalists, social media producers and media workers have been killed while reporting news to the general public.  It’s evident in México, for example, as that nation wages an ill-fated war on drugs.  But, it can be as seemingly mundane as China’s ongoing internet censorship.  Even here in the U.S., the Bush Administration forbade media coverage of the flag-draped coffins of dead military personnel being returned from Iraq and Afghanistan under the guise of privacy concerns for the families.

A free press is synonymous with free speech; the two ideals are intrinsically bonded and are hallmarks of a truly democratic state.  As bloggers, it’s our obligation to uphold this mantle.  Civilization depends on it.

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