Funny. I have been a “warrior for free speech” all my life. I have worked continuously to make sure everyone’s speech is properly protected from government and private interference, to the extent possible. For example, I would never deny that Lord Donny has the right to Tweet about anything he wishes. Of course, the rest of us have every right to call him a complete idiot, too. I would never go along with a plan to ban Rush Limbaugh from the airwaves, either. On the other hand, it is also okay when his advertisers decide that what he says is offensive and they pull their advertising. No one is entitled to be paid nine figures for frothing at the mouth.
Isn’t free speech grand? Everyone gets to speak. It’s perfect.
However, there is one thing I understand that the immature idiots in the far right can’t seem to get at all. Just because you have something to say doesn’t mean you should. (And yes, this is a feature of the unicorn left, also, but this column isn’t about them.) Anyway, I was confused when the incredibly immature and stupid Milo Yiannopoulos, called himself a ” warrior for free speech” at his self-important “press conference” yesterday. I mean, who in their right mind thinks that this asshole is championing free speech? Here is part of what he said:
But let’s be clear what is happening here. This is a cynical media witch hunt from people who don’t care about children. They care about destroying me and my career, and by extension my allies. They know that although I made some outrageous statements, I’ve never actually done anything wrong. These videos have been out there for more than a year. The media held this story back because they don’t care about victims, they only care about bringing me down. They will fail.
I will be announcing a new, independently-funded media venture of my own and a live tour in the coming weeks.
I started my career as a technology reporter who wrote about politics but I have since become something else. I am a performer with millions of fans in America and beyond. I’m grateful for the tens of thousands of messages of support I’ve received and I look forward to making you all laugh, cry and think for many decades to come.
My full focus is now going to be on entertaining and educating everyone, left, right and otherwise. If you want to brand or stereotype me, good luck with that.
Don’t think for a moment that this will stop me being as offensive, provocative and outrageously funny as I want on any subject I want. America has a colossal free speech problem. The land of the First Amendment has some of the most oppressive social restrictions on free expression anywhere in the western world. I’m proud to be a warrior for free speech and creative expression.
First of all, why is he a right winger? If you look closely at the actual free speech suppression that goes on, most of it comes from the right, not the left. When paintings or books are burned or banned, it’s never the left that does it. Even the simple-minded and stupid “Stop Rush” movement doesn’t call for him to be banned from the air. This idiot has aligned himself with a segment of the politics that hates his ass. For being gay, for having a foreign accent, for using profanity, for having a boyfriend who is black… what the hell did he expect? Consider that he was uninvited to speak at Berkeley, but look at everything else; he was uninvited to speak at CPAC, the publisher that canceled his book was Threshold Editions, a “conservative” imprint that has also published books by Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin. And while he wasn’t fired by Breitbart, they seemed to be a bit taken aback by his comments that seemed to accept pedophilia as “normal.” In other words, al of the “political correctness” that he points to all came from his side of the aisle.
That said, we’re talking about common decency here. He wasn’t fired because he told a dirty joke to an audience who paid to see him, as Randi Rhodes was when she did stand-up. We’re talking about his attacking people personally and giving voice to people who sexually assault children. He may think it’s “funny,” but most of what I have seen is purely mean, not funny. It’s not surprising, really; it’s rare to find a funny right winger. There are reasons for that. For one thing, to be funny, a joke has to have a ring of truth to it. I actually write jokes for a couple of comedians. ($50 each, you choose the subject, if you’re interested. You keep all rights and no one will ever know I wrote it.) I have one hard and fast rules – you always joke UP, never down. If you want to make joes about Lord Donny’s hands or his speech patterns, fine; he’s placed himself above you; have at it. However, you don’t make fun of someone with cerebral palsy because they drool when they talk. You don’t make fun of an actress’s looks, just because you don’t find her attractive. Put simply, if Milo wouldn’t like it said about someone he loves, he shouldn’t say it himself.
It’s called simple decency. I can’t tell you how many times I have had to school some misogynist right winger on proper behavior toward women. I always thought the concept was simple; if you wouldn’t like it said about your mother, your wife, your sister or your girlfriend, don’t say it to anyone else. If Milo doesn’t like the way Leslie Jones looks, then he should not watch her in anything she’s in. It doesn’t move society forward to harass her on Twitter. It’s also not funny. It’s possible for something funny to be mean-spirited, but nothing is funny just because it’s mean to an actual adult. It’s why I’ve never joined in on any of the “Man Coulter” jokes, implying that she used to be a man. It’s not really funny in the first place and it’s also an insult to trans people. Ann Coulter is an asshole. It’s not because she’s a woman or used to be a man or anything like that. It’s because what she says is mean and not at all funny, except to the brain-dead right wingers who buy her books so they can masturbate to the covers. (I mean, you know they don’t actually read that shit, right?)
As for most of Milo’s diatribe above, I wonder what country he’s been living in, because I don’t see “the media” censoring anyone. Partly, that’s because they don’t have the power to do that. Perhaps he doesn’t understand what “free speech” actually is. It’s not unusual among those on the right, actually. I can’t tell you how many times someone on the right has accused me of violating their free speech because I block them on Twitter or Facebook, or because I won’t allow outright lies and incendiary shit in this blog’s comments area. Many of them seem to think that arguing with them and telling them they have their facts wrong is violating their free speech rights. It’s really hilarious how often I tell someone they’re wrong and their “defense” is something like, “well, I have the right to my opinion,” thus dismissing the fact that I, too, have the right to tell them they’re full of shit.
Someone needs to tell Milo Yiannopoulos that he’s nothing like a “free speech warrior.” While everyone has the right to ownership of what they say, no one is entitled to get rich from it. Constantly trashing someone like Leslie Jones, to the point of harassment because he, a gay man, doesn’t think she’s attractive, is just bad manners. Yeah, technically, he has every right to do so without being arrested or otherwise stopped by the government, but Twitter, as the owner of a privately-owned social network, has the right to kick him off their platform. If he and Chuck Johnson (the red-headed asshole, not the proprietor of Little Green Footballs, who is an awesome guy) feel so put-upon, they are certainly free to start their own version of Twitter, which they can call “Short Messages for Assholes,” or something just as appropriate. That’s how free speech works. This is my blog. Just because you want to place hateful shit on my blog doesn’t mean you’re entitled to. You have the right to free speech, you do not have the right to access everyone else’s platform. I have every right to stop you from lying and trashing others on MY blog. You still have the right to say what you want. You can start your own blog and say nasty things about me all you want; as long as you don’t violate my copyright, have at it. God knows, it’s been done hundreds of times before. If you start your own blog and say nasty things about me and the government, you will have no greater champion than me if the government tries to shut you down. However, while the First Amendment protects your right to free speech, it protects our right to tell you you’re an asshole and it protects the rights of book publishers to not want to publish your bullshit.
I’m sorry that Milo Yiannopoulos was molested as a child and that he was raped as a child. And I also agree that he has the technical right to say the nasty shit he does, the rest of us have the right to make sure we don’t hear it. I have no doubt that a million dumbasses will buy his book, and he will probably start a podcast that a million subscribers will pay $5 a month for. However, I won’t be one of them, and that is how my right to free speech works.
Isn’t free speech wonderful?