Free Speech

My neighbors get together in driveways pretty much every night. It’s a good chance to have a cocktail, BS, debate, and generally release the pressure of the day. Last night’s discussion got a bit ugly. The discussion centered on freedom of speech. Dom Imus came up (of course) and then Def Jam records decision to condemn similar language. And then hate speech… and on and on. One of our combatants refused to acknowledge that Imus is/was an entertainer. He still believes that he is some kind of journalist. He also maintains that it was perfectly right for Imus to get fired but that it’s not right to penalize singers for using the same words. Of course, we all wanted to know why.

One participant proffered that it was because the guy did not have kids. I don’t think so. Our music defender went on to say that music helped form his opinions and mindset and it would be tragic if it was muzzled. I don’t get that logic. Why is one form of speech in need of protection while another isn’t? I understand that the advertisers had their say and they ultimately decided the fate of Don Imus. But why should advertisers or even the public hold Don Imus to a different standard than a singer such as Fifty Cent? Why is it okay for advertisers to give Fifty Cent a pass when he says “ho” and not Don Imus? It’s intellectually dishonest to sanction both approaches.

Personally, I think that Imus should be able to say what ever he wants and so should any other entertainer. Nobody should prevent them from saying or singing things that make themselves look moronic. But if an advertiser is going to pull the plug on one entertainer for saying something that offends, they should apply the standard equally. The government has no business in this and should uphold the First Amendment, etc. Advertisers and employers are being pretty weak and pandering, though, when they determine their actions on who said something as opposed to what was said. As consumers, we can buy or listen to what we please and the only guidance that we need is our own conscience.


1 Response to “Free Speech”

  1. May 1, 2007 at 11:57 am

    Interesting perspective. I must admit I hadn’t even thought of Imus as an entertainer until now, but then, that’s the great thing about blogs, no?

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