Unclear on Free Speech

Offensive speech still deserves to be free.

Anthea Butler wrote a piece in USA Today complaining that the producer of the controversial crappy film Innocence of Muslims should be in jail because he made a film that insults Islam.  Butler, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Pennsylvania, clearly doesn’t understand the First Amendment to the Constitution which allows Bacile (real name Nakoula Basseley Nakoula) to do just that.  She says:

So why did I tweet that Bacile should be in jail? The “free speech” in Bacile’s film is not about expressing a personal opinion about Islam. It denigrates the religion by depicting the faith’s founder in several ludicrous and historically inaccurate scenes to incite and inflame viewers.

So what?  While I’m not  going to defend this pathetic, cheap and unprofessional film, made by a fundamentalist Christian group specifically for the purpose of defaming Islam, he still has a right, as an American citizen, to do just that if he so chooses.  It doesn’t matter what the consequences of his free speech might be, they are indirect and caused, not by a movie, or even by an opinion, but by the absurd over-reaction of a bunch of fundamentalist Muslims.  If you want to know who to blame, blame them.  It’s no one’s fault but their own that they are so out of control that every time they find even the most minor slight to their religious views, they go out and kill people.

You want to know who should be in prison?  Fundamentalist Muslim rioters.

My tweets reflected my exasperation that as a religion professor, it is difficult to teach the facts when movies such as Bacile’s Innocence of Muslims are taken as both truth and propaganda, and used against innocent Americans.

Alright, I’d have to ask what Butler means here by “teach the facts”, seeing she’s an associate professor of religious studies.  There are facts, such as that these ancient, primitive books of mythology teach certain things for which there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever and there are “facts” such as “Mohammed is sinless and a prophet of Allah” which are just belief, nothing more.  Certainly, I’d expect a professor in an accredited university to lean toward the former but that would, by it’s very nature, piss off the religious, wouldn’t it?  Like it or not, the Qu’ran is taken as both truth and propaganda and used against innocent Americans as well.

I haven’t seen the movie, I haven’t the slightest interest in ever seeing the movie, but isn’t it a “fact” that Mohammed married girls who, by today’s standards at least, would cast him as a pedophile?  Now I recognize the difficulty of trying to apply modern sensibilities to primitive cultures, but you do see this all the time with regard to slavery, etc.  People pretend that because we see slavery as evil today, all of the people who had slaves throughout history must have been evil, even though it was perfectly acceptable at the time.  It’s why I caution people to recognize context.

While the First Amendment right to free expression is important, it is also important to remember that other countries and cultures do not have to understand or respect our right

You’re absolutely right but you’d have to show us where Bacile tried to release his film in any of those other countries.  So far as I know, it has only been seen by a handful of people in it’s entirety, at a single theatrical showing, in a seedy theater in Hollywood, where they could find less than a dozen people willing to sit through it.  So none of the various Libyans or Egyptians could possibly have seen the whole movie, in fact, it’s doubtful that the overwhelming majority of them ever saw any part of it.   They all rioted because they heard, second, third or more-hand, that this movie insulted Mohammed.

Cry me a fucking river.

The problem here isn’t a movie, it’s the fact that you have a bunch of animals in robes who think the planet owes them an absurd amount of respect for their primitive and ridiculous beliefs.  It’s about damn time the entire planet explains to these 6-year olds throwing temper-tantrums to grow the fuck up.  It’s not religious tolerance to allow these assholes to run wild in the streets.  It’s stupidity.

We have more than enough stupidity in the world already.

4 thoughts on “Unclear on Free Speech”

  1. This moderate liberal has nothing but bucketloads of complete agreement for you.

    It's one thing to realize that not all cultures regard or prize freedom of speech and expression the way ours does. It is a very different thing to express the idea that our citizens need to keep quiet for fear of offending people. It would be wrong no matter what the circumstances…..but it is even worse when we are talking about people who are professional offense takers, who constantly cry foul at free speech for their own political purposes.

    This is one thing I really love about the internet….free speech for all, crybaby adults included, whether they like it or not, and the only way around it is to show just what censorious fascists they really are.

    1. No, what's worse is that our government, the people we put in charge of protecting our rights and liberties, are trying to convince Google to pull the trailer from YouTube because it might offend someone else. Google has refused, although they have apparently restricted access in countries like Egypt and Libya.

      Our government does not understand the First Amendment.

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