Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Friday, April 16, 2004

A reminder

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Apparently, there is some confusion about what the word "no" means. It means zero, none, nada. I'm not certain where the airwaves exception is. Putting a microphone in someone's hand doesn't strip away the freedom of speech, or at least it shouldn't.
I realize that the convoluted argument that allows the FCC to regulate what can and cannot be said on the radio is that they don't regulate "political" speech, and that they just uphold "community standards" regarding sexual or scatological language. However, there is no language, as you can see, in the 1st amendment specifying what kind of speech is protected. Indeed, it seems that all speech is protected.
There's a good reason that the 1st amendment doesn't specify "political" speech, that was the intention. And that is because "political speech" is a redundant phrase in this context. All speech is political, or at least potentially so. The minute that speech offends someone and there is an attempt to supress it, that speech becomes political.
So yes, while speech with sexual content may not originally be intended to make a political statement but merely to entertain, it becomes political once censorship enters the debate. To put it simply, when you say "fuck" on the radio, you are not only saying the word but you are protesting censorship and that word is political, and therefore must be defended even under the "political" definition of free speech.

Another reminder: Because someone has the freedom to speech does not mean others are required to listen. If something offends you, don't listen to it. Simple, but true.