Vox Ego

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Location: Iowa City, Iowa, United States

I hope to use this blog for parody and comment. We still have a 1st Amendment. I am Democratic from Day One. And it's time to saddle up.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

In earlier days, they would have called us blasphemers, and simply burnt us at the stake

Ah, the Internet. Sweet bastion of free speech (so far) and home of the blog, a virtually limitless forum for dissemination and discussion. They provide the ability write and link to other writings so freely that it all can resemble a casual conversation between friends. And as friends sometimes do, the "coarseness" of some speech can itself become a topic. To them I say, then take a walk. Be alone with your Purity of Essence.

Too bad that the normal real-life response to encountering such a discussion is not also the rule online. If Someone walks up to a group of people chattering excitedly about a hot topic that interests them and wishes to chime in, the context matters a great deal. This group was already here, and they have established a norm that they are all comfortable with. Does anybody there know this Someone? A friend's voice is always welcome. And if this "friend" leaps in with a snide comment about the coarse language they are hearing, they are likely to either kill the conversation or to evoke a response like, "And who the fuck are you again? Who knows this guy?". Turns out nobody does, and the consensus is, Go to the PTA if you want a civil discussion. We're trying to stop another goddamn war here. If you wanna talk about that, have a seat.

And Someone walks away, looking for Someone else to cry to, about how badly the Dirty Fucking Hippies treated him. Swearing like a bunch of sailors.

My grandfather Jack was a sailor, serving in the Pacific in WWII. Around the time I came along in the late 50's, he bought The West Branch Times and ran the small-town paper for 25 years until retiring. And as the editor, he wrote the editorials during a period that spanned Sputnik and the Space Shuttle. Editorials about Vietnam, civil rights, the loss of a President and his brother, who would have been President. I once heard him say that a Republican would piss on your leg and try to tell you it's raining. Some things never change. But for the most part my folks kept me away from the places where people talked like adults until my tender ears were ready. You have to wonder how all those easily offended types ever survived Cable TV.

The blog concept runs completely counter to the authoritarian bent of the Right. As much as they claim to hate the "liberal" media, in order to start a war for pure neocon theories they truly needed a backup propaganda outlet besides the official government channels. And that same "liberal" media happily passed on the disinformation. Corporate consolidation has so poisoned the old media that if blogs did not exist, we would have created something else, some other detour around the power structure to find more credible sources. Because our lives depend on it, and because that shit positively drives them up the wall.

So. They wanna complain about us DFH's. Yeah, well, tough. Take a walk. See there? I could have sworn at them too, but I didn't want that kind of emphasis right there. And so, unable to control our speech, on their own blogs, they look for ways to bring back the fucking stake. Very Christian of them.