Saturday, July 14, 2012
And I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free
A throwaway tweet about a comic I'd only vaguely heard of because of Reddit led to my being listed in a Yahoo article about "9 badass women who are not amused by Daniel Tosh's rape joke." Having once been a journalist, I think I can say with some authority: Tweets are not news or newsworthy, unless said tweet is along the lines of, "Holy shit, I just saw Mitt Romney rip off his face to reveal a robot one under it! Then he said: 'Skynet is online! Prepare to die, humans!'" And only if you verify its authenticity. But, by then, it'll be too late because the war will have already started. In short: Stop quoting tweets, you lazy hacks.
As an American living abroad for nearly six years, I don't make it my job to keep up with the latest in dude-bro culture in the US, and I don't need to because there will always be Lenny Bruce and Howard Stern wannabes trying to recapture their genuine shock value and cultural relevancy despite that boat having sailed years ago. Now, comics like Tosh are just as lazy and hackish as Yahoo writers on a deadline. They don't need to try very hard because the bar has been set so low thanks to the Internet, and I know a thing or two about that because I helped invent trolling, kids.
It wasn't Tosh's joke that offended me, and I wasn't attacking him or defending the woman in the audience who called him out. What offends me is that so many Americans seem to have no fucking idea what the First Amendment entails. "I can say whatever I want, but you can't say anything negative in response to what I said! That's censorship!"
No, it's not. It's really, really not, you constitutionally ignorant crybabies. Until the government shows up at your door with an arrest warrant for writing such insightful prose as "that unfunny cunt can choke on my dick and then get tit cancer lol" on YouTube, you are not living in some totalitarian gynocracy.
Free speech covers both telling rape jokes and criticizing comedians who tell them. It means politicians being able to say poor people should just crawl off into a ditch and die if they get cancer, and those with even the tiniest shred of human decency left being able to respond, "That's horrible. What the hell is wrong with you?" And when a relative posts a link to the conspiracy theory du jour about Obama working with the Muslim Brotherhood, the UN, Planned Parenthood and Matt Damon to steal our guns and install a caliphate, you're allowed to comment, "Stop smoking bath salts, Grandma."
Free speech is not a one-way street, and censorship is not a private citizen publicly calling you an asshole because she disagrees with your opinion.