After quite some years of Right Wing Religious ranting, we are seeing the sour fruits of their efforts, the making of a New American Order in which the Bill of Rights and the right to privacy are under attack. South Dakota has outlawed all abortions except in the case of a pregnancy being a threat to the mother's life. The fact that the Little Bush had just successfully appointed two Right Wing or Conservative (I didn't look closely for the more I can ignore what the Bush administration is up to, the happier I am) Justices to be members of the Supremes was no doubt not an accident of timing on the part of the S. Dakota legislators. That and all the other efforts to strike down Roe v. Wade constitute strike one.
The FCC has slammed CBS with a 3.6 million fine because an episode of the pro-FBI show, Without a Trace, depicted teenagers in various modes of undress thereby suggesting that a teenage orgy was occurring but gave no fine to a broadcast of Oprah where a graphic discussion of sex acts that go on at certain teenage parties occurred. Apparently, the FCC actually believes a picture is worth a 1,000 words. I saw the episode of the CBS show and do not recall any depictions of humping or even fully exposed breasts or pricks or even butts. Moreover, the show did not endorse what was going on. Allegedly, Oprah introduced to America the concept of a Rainbow party where every girl wears a different color of lipstick and they perform oral sex on the boys leaving a rainbow of color on their pricks. It is further alleged that Oprah
introduced the [above mentioned] concept to uninitiated adults on an episode that also defined "hoovering," "booty calls" and "salad tossing."Color me uninitiated. I think I know what "hoovering" means (if it means oral sex provided for the benefit of a female) and I know what "booty" refers to (if it refers to one's rear end) but I don't know what "booty calls" (anal sex?) are nor what "salad tossing" is. In my view, Oprah's introducing overt, graphic verbal depictions of sex acts should have been vastly more offensive than the CBS FBI show to these guardians of American over-the-air morality. So why was Without a Trace fined and the Oprah Show (or whatever it is called) not fined? In my opinion, Oprah's show (timed perfectly in Columbus, Ohio so that kids would be out of school and therefore able to watch it) could only have educated naive teenagers about all the fun they are missing and giving them a primer as how to spice up their parties. This entire FCC crusade is a species of McCarthyism if understood as an effort by the Right Wing and Conservative species of human being to silence those who differ from them in regard to moral beliefs and actions resulting from such beliefs. So, the FCC has taken a pitch for strike two.
This morning, I read in my Columbus Dispatch the Right Wing columnist Thomas Sowell saying "free speech never has meant speech free of consequences." Sorry, Sowell, that is precisely what it means. He should have said "free speech has never meant that all speech is free of consequences. If I suffer consequences for saying President Bush is an evil man, then I am being denied free speech. Let's test that now. I, Mike Geis, assert that George Bush is an evil man. If you see no more blogs you will know that I have either died or was arrested for defaming the President. Actually, Sowell was bitching about professors using captive audiences to present and perhaps even advocate their political or other agendas when these are not relevant to the course material. He is not obviously wrong about this.
There is one context in which a professor or high school teacher should speak out on a sociopolitical matter and that would be in stating an objection to being forced to introduce the Non-Theory of Intelligent Design in classes. All such a teacher need do is point out that Creationism is not a theory in any useful sense of the term because it has no empirical consequences. The Theory of Evolution does and Creationists delight in pointing respects in which it seems to be wrong. That is fine. That is playing by the rules of scientific investigation. But the Non-Theory of Intelligent Design has no empirical consequences, that is it makes no claims of the form, "Since fully-fledged humans who could speak languages were created by God, if you look at place P (in the world, in the human body, or wherever else you like), you will see O (some observable).
Speech is not free speech if you are forced to say something you don't believe. This effort to force Creationism down our throats is strike three. It is damn good thing life in America isn't like a baseball game or we would be out.