Free speech isn't free.
Only hours after posting a diatribe about failure to communicate, my own communication skills crashed and burned when my comments were censored from my all time favorite screenwriting site for being “offensively overdramatic", "insensitive", "inappropriate", and "yucky”. It’s not the first time.
What comment did I make? Well, I didn't curse, promote flag burning, insult anyone or wail at the ignorance of religious institutions that I disagree with. I quite simply summarized my comments from my heroes and monsters post on a United 93 thread and included my remark to Brett that I didn't want DVD's of the film to wind up in terrorist training camps and lauded like a mascot at a pep rally or revered like the trophy panties of a serial killer.
"Trophy panties" struck a sour chord with the webmaster so my post was yanked.
Good or bad, what we say affects people. I don't have a problem with my comments being censored on that site because it doesn't change my right to make the comments. Okay, that’s a lie. It did chap me a little. But it demonstrates the limitations of speech that another person chooses to impose in his/her own realm of responsibility, not a limitation on my freedom of speech. Their house. Their rules.
If I write a magazine article that falls in line with the philosophy and general guidelines of the publisher and some reader gets ticked off, tough beans. Free speech. Would I get ticked off if the publisher censored it? You bet. But it’s his paper. His house. His rules. Would I write the article if I knew my opinion would cost people their lives? Nope. But, that doesn’t change my right to write it.
My sons are free to say anything at all in my house. However, if it flies in the face of what I consider polite and decent, there will be consequences, even if I have to stand in a chair to reach my 22 year old son's mouth with the bar of soap. My house. My rules. Why? Because my sons need to understand that even in the grown-up world, what people say and do, while they may have every right to say and do it, has consequences. Calling somebody a slang word for cat (too ugly for me to type) is probably going to fit right in at a wrestling match but I wouldn't recommend doing it to the police officer writing you a ticket, even if he deserves it.
Speech is a loaded weapon. It can keep the peace or incite a riot.
A guy I went to school with was leaving a miniature golf course one night and got into a verbal altercation with some bullies in the parking lot. He used a racial slur as one of the bullies was driving away. The bully backed up and shot the mouthy kid in the leg. But the word vomit kept flowing. So the bully backed up again and shot him in the head.
I’m not saying that censorship is good – only that freedom to speak doesn't mean that speech is free of consequences. And, speaking of consequences ---
HIM: You think you’re pretty cute.
ME: Only until noon-ish when my hair goes flat.
HIM: I know that was me on your blog yesterday.
ME: You have a babysitter?
HIM: I used to think you were intelligent.
ME: I used to pick my nose.
HIM: You’re an idiot.
ME: Enjoy your tomatoes.