Thursday, August 16, 2018

Free speech in action

The above comment was posted on the newspaper's FB page in response to my most recent column. The comment was deleted, the commenter banned by the paper, and a screenshot (without the redactions) was forwarded to me.

I say the guy had the right to say what he said, and the newspaper had the right to delete the comment. The actions of neither seem out of line.

I would have been angry had FB chosen to intervene and remove the comment (of which they were not a party) since they supposedly invite the public to use the platform, but no individual has to leave anything that bothers them on their own page or a page they are responsible for. Had he waited to leave the comment on my post on my FB page, I would have left it. I do appreciate the paper's efforts at defending my honor, though. I realize they were also trying to protect their advertisers.

The comment didn't upset me. It was just too far off-base.

Just how far afield is the commenter? Well, I'm not "known", I don't worship (or believe in) anything supernatural, I don't rape or otherwise initiate force, I respect the rights of children just like I do anyone else, I don't have a basement (but I do have a cellar), and if I did have a basement I wouldn't invite a crowd of people into it to watch me do something I consider evil. And if someone did witness me doing such a thing they would have the right-- and the responsibility-- to shoot me in order to stop me.

If a comment were negative and too close for comfort it would probably be a different story. (Occasionally I've had people accuse me of being an anarchist! That just gets a "Yeah. So?" instead of the outrage or denial they had hoped for.)

Personally, I think the commenter was either trying to be funny or was trying to make a point. I was slightly amused by the comment. And, I can see a point to be made with such a comment. More than one, actually.

Yes, speech can offend people (as it did the newspaper) and it can cause harm. Perhaps he was trying to illustrate this point. No one ever said speech doesn't have consequences, nor that you get a free ride just by claiming "free speech". You are responsible for the consequences of what you say or write, whether your words are true or false. If you don't like that, you have the option to keep your thoughts to yourself.

Maybe he was testing my commitment to freedom of speech, even when it targets me. If so, bravo.

Anyway, it was just a little feedback to add to my information stack.

This blog is my job.
YOU get to decide if I get paid.


  1. FN awesome post. Someone goes full arsehole on you, the paper deletes it, and you voluntarily repost it on your own blog and then cooly rebut it point by point.

    Jim Henshaw

    1. I never feel right about hiding from criticisms or whatever this was.

  2. I should note here, the use of comic sans by the commenter indicates a possible case of pychopathic or even sociopathic dysfunction; certainly an utter disregard for the well being of anyone by chance having the misfortune to read said comment. Think of the (fill in the blank with group d'jour)!

    Which all makes about as much sense as the accusation contained in the comment, and about as much basis in fact, although I really do despise comic sans; What the KRIFF were they thinking when they created that font?

    Nice dissection, Kent! You've got big Titanium ones, and that's one of the many things I admire about you.


    1. I suspect the font was chosen by the recipient of the comment when setting up his phone, not the sender. Or am I wrong about that?

      But, anyway, thank you!