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David Has a Point -- But in This Case...
by athena (with david)   April 1, 2004
politics, gay, cartoon

A recent LA Times editorial cartoon brought up a little discussion betwixt David and me about the right to free speech. First, you have to read the cartoon:

http://www.glaad.org/action/write_now_detail.php?id=3638

And here's an e-mail I sent out:

    Hey everybody. Now, as you all know, I have as good a sense of humor as the next person, with possibly being the funniest, most clever person you have ever met. HOWEVER, this Michael Ramirez LA Times cartoon is, to say the very least, feeding the fire of the ignorant and should not have been allowed to be printed.

    Please view the cartoon and take a couple of minutes to respond to the Times through the GLAAD website, or write to the Times through their website. I hope to flood the Times with letters against printing such obviously homophobic content.
David sent me an e-mail in reply:
    Not allowed to be printed? C'mon, Athena. This is clearly hateful, ignorant speech. But it is speech, and free at that. We are all protected, or none of us are. Was the LA Times tasteless in running it? Yes. Is Ramirez clearly a bigot, as least as refers to homosexuals? Yes. Should the Times open a frank discussion of opinion, prejudice and freedom of speech? Yes. Should a paper be prohibited from running an editorial cartoon? No. No more than NBC should have been prohibited from running "the Reagans" miniseries. Just 'cause the speech is hurtful to you, yours, or issues you support, does not mean it should be prohibited. Senator Rick Santorum has said worse in public speeches. He's not been censored, nor should he be. He should be voted out of office. We should do our best, those of us on the other side, to spread counter-arguments and appeal to what we believe is right. But we do not censor. That goes against what we, as liberals, stand for. Prohibited? First amendment rights are for everyone. Even bigots.
After reading this, it really made me stop and think - is he right? Am I trying to suppress freedom of speech? So here was my reply to him, albeit poorly worded, repetitive, and I really don't state my point clearly until the end.
    No it's not that. I, of course, agree with free speech, but I'm not sure of a Time's employee being allowed to espouse his own homophobia. The Times is there (supposedly) for objective news. If it's a non-employee letter to the editor, then that's a different story.

    And don't lecture me on free speech. The Reagans movie is entertainment, not ''news'. Yes, I know as well as you that the news organizations are slanted and not objective, but that's what they purport to be. I was a journalism major for a year in undergrad, and I know that first rule of news is that your personal opinion should not slant what you're reporting on.

    And yes, it's an editorial, but it's still an employee of a news organization. It's not a cartoon that makes you think about both sides of the issue or even one side of the issue, it's a cartoon that says gay people want to marry their siblings and/or relatives. That isn't an issue anywhere in the fight for gay marriage whether you're against it or not. He can write cartoons all day against gay marriage, but don't say that part of it is about marrying family members, because it doesn't belong in the argument. Gays aren't fighting for the right to marry family members...that's my problem with it....it's the same if he had a cartoon with a guy marrying a horse....gays aren't fighting for the right to marry animals....he can argue against it all he wants, but no one is fighting for the right to marry their parents...so at least argue against it FACTUALLY....don't lead people to believe that part of what gays want it to marry their family members....
So there it is. The main point I was trying to make is, yes, you can be against gay marriage, but the issues in the fight for gay marriage NOWHERE includes the fight for the right to marry family members of the same sex. And for an employee of a news organization, sure, OK, what the hell, go ahead and throw in your own two cents, but at least base your two cents on FACTS.


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