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Reinart der Fuchs
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Freedom of speech.

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  • Freedom of speech.

    I deeply admire the american first amendment, which unfortunatelly doesn't exist in France. What is the limit? What is offending?

    Recently, there were this Muhammad draws polemic, then another one in poland about a famous virgin Maria icon parodized with famous american singer face Madonna. What are we allowed to laugh of?

    Last edited by Mespheber; 07-12-2006, 09:56 AM.
    Free the West Memphis Three

  • #2
    I think the real question we in America are beginning to ask is where is it appropriate to laugh.

    Stephen Colbert shook things up for choosing to skewer Bush at a press corps dinner. Even some of his supporters thought he had crossed a line. I didn't, for what it's worth.

    More seriously, debate and protest has been stifled a great deal here, particularly criticism of the war. I can see where some would think that a Senate hearing chamber is not the place for a sarcastic protest t-shirt, but a coffee shop would be. Sadly, a person wearing a sarcastic protest t-shirt in a coffee shop was just arrested, and someone protesting in the Senate chamber was allowed to stay.

    On a related topic, I have to balance this in my professional life from time to time. I champion free speech in my classes, but I've had to privately ask people to stop dropping the F-bomb so much in class, and I've had to ask someone who was wearing a shirt that said "Fuck y'all, I'm from Texas" to not wear it again. It just offended too many people. Granted, I thought it was funny, but...

    My point? ( Do I have one ) The first amendment has taken a beating, which I don't like. As someone who thinks of himself as a patriot, I'm actually quite appalled. However, I have to swallow some things, because it seems that notions of free speech aren't as concrete as I imagined. Some is freer than others?


    • #3
      Bon soir, Mespheber. I guess Freedom is a delicate matter. I think I personally concede more freedom to others than I personally would ever take.

      I looked at this Lord of the Rings .gif you have posted above and can't make up my mind. Is it satire or not? Who thinks up such a thing? And what is it against? Is it against the false sentiments that we think are in this scene (of the movie), the friendship/loyalty between two hobbits? (Are the hobbits already caricatures of men?) Can everybody understand it that way? Does one have to have seen the movie?
      Or is it directed against the whole of the Lord of the Rings fantasy? Or is it directed against these two actors Elijah Wood and Sean Astin? (That I would find unfair and offending, they did their job well, even if we might not like their parts). You are into acting yoursel, how would you feel? Or, is the sequence saying this is how gay people behave - behaving so terrible that even the abominable Golum is disgusted? (That would surely offend a number of people, including me who has gay friends).
      The main problem is that one cannot know what it is really trying to say, I think, and that it uses images of real people. I am sure with a little more effort - like drawing the characters (instead of using the real images) - would have made the whole thing more "sympa". As it is it comes across as a bit, well, cheap.
      This is an opinion, and I'm glad you asked for thoughts of us here.
      Google ergo sum


      • #4
        The freedom of people stops where it infriges on the freedoms of other people !

        The problem is the definition of this limit. In fact it belongs to the law and to the judge.

        Every freedom can be abused but this risk must not be a reason to supress the freedom.


        • #5
          I think L'Etranger's mention of the animated Hobbit .gif in Mespheber's post is an excellent place to start looking at this issue. When I first saw it (in a different thread earlier today) I thought, "Well, that's just childishly homophobic dreck. It's not even funny." But at the same time, I didn't feel the need to assume my opinion was everyone else's as well.

          I put a lot of stock into a person's motivations behind their free speech. L'Etranger's ponderings about the intentions behind the Hobbit animation reflect this idea. The animation might have intelligent, legitimate meaning but it seems to be nothing more than something to cause offense in the name of "free speech". The recent hullabaloo over the Muhammed cartoons in Danish newspapers is another great example. On the one hand, the cartoons are an example of freedom of speech. On the other, they also exemplify a callous lack of civility toward Muslims.

          Free speech comes with a bit of responsibility. Just because you can say certain things doesn't mean you should.

          But to directly answer your question regarding where free speech ends, Morgan Kane hit it on the head. I am free to say what I want as long as it doesn't remove someone else's rights. For example, I am free to say, "I think George W Bush is a simpleton and a twit." (And I do, by the way.) I am not, however, allowed to say "George W Bush m*lests children." That would be slander because it infringes upon his rights. See, one is a statement of opinion, while the other is a direct, unfounded accusation which could negatively affect his freedoms.

          Doc's student wearing a shirt with the F-word on it infringed on other students' rights not to be exposed to foul language. Dude had to quit wearing the shirt.
          "Wounds are all I'm made of. Did I hear you say that this is victory?"
          --Michael Moorcock, Veteran of the Psychic Wars


          • #6
            I got a cheap laugh from that banner. I wonder, would anyone show this banner to a homosexual and not blush. Has the freedom to post or not post the banner to MM affected your freedom to post or not post it to any other medium?
            Infinite complexity according to simple rules.


            • #7
              For the record, it appears that, like the Wombles and Doctor Who, Frodo and Sam have become "gay icons". The last time I saw something similar to Mespheber's was on a gay man's blog. So whether it is interpreted as homophobic or not depends very much on context (although maybe we could do without Gollum's intervention).

              I must be a very sick person, because I find it very funny, because the facial expressions are so appropriate!
              \" ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell


              • #8
                The fact is I enjoy Tolkien, I enjoyed as well Peter Jackson's work and don't find anything offending in this .gif and I'm ready to believe that some gays could find it funny as well. Why should humour allways be against something or someone?

                The report of complains I had by PM reminded me strangely Muhammad draws polemic and I found a similar pattern in the present event. I was reported some weird arguments to support complains as "childhood protection on internet", "offense to a fantasy author", just like I had offended the Christ himself! My point is the hability to have some distance to oneself and to laugh is a sign of strength. As a matter of fact, only dead don't laugh.

                Originally posted by Reinart der Fuchs
                Has the freedom to post or not post the banner to MM affected your freedom to post or not post it to any other medium?
                What if I choose to post it here to define mi identity? As words, images are communication. I can't show you my face, but I can choose the way to show my innerself and this picture seems to me the most appropriate on MM forums. If I had to use it on metal forums I visit from time to time, it would be irrelevant. In these cases, I use another one, that you can see for now. Does it mean anything to you? I don't think it does. However, for french headbangers, it does.
                Last edited by Mespheber; 07-12-2006, 11:58 AM.
                Free the West Memphis Three


                • #9
                  I don't think you can comparate the Mespheber .gif with the cartoons of the prophet....

                  - The cartoons were drawn as an affirmlationb of the right to caricature islam as others religions. The author who has drawn a muslim with a bommb in his turban has made worst with christianism.

                  the cartoons have been published and discussed without any fuss before a political operation be mounted by fiundamentalist mixing this cartoons with other showing the prophet as a pig and others more choking .

                  - The .gif shown by Mes has no political view, just to make laugh .....

                  For me it is not funny but i don' t give a damn ... i know they are actors and not personnaly implied. I know also that shots from the movie have been used .....

                  It is true this .gif does not seem to be for young people ....


                  • #10
                    Is there anything pornographic in this picture? Young people can see worst on tv and no fun: a father shot in front of his daughter on a palestinian beach, starvation and AIDS in Africa, unemployement, wars... They're allowed to watch violence and build for themselves a negative image of life.

                    They can't laugh of the same things than adult when they're allowed to share their worries. Doesn't it sound weird to any of you?
                    Free the West Memphis Three


                    • #11
                      Children here? I don't think many drop by, but okay, what is so important for you about this LotR .gif sequence?
                      If I were an actor I would be pretty pissed to become associated with stuff I never meant. For instance give this sequence some N.azi meaning, couldn't I seriously object if I don't want to be ther star of a N.azi cartoon? Or in this case a gay joke? I think I would agree to criticism of my acting or of my interpretation, but I would not agree to the abuse in a totally different context.

                      Anyway, looking forward to your response tomorrow, I'm off to bed, bonne nuit!
                      Last edited by L'Etranger; 07-12-2006, 12:17 PM.
                      Google ergo sum


                      • #12
                        Refer to n*zi argument is called a Godwin in some places... Being an actor myself, I don't give a sh*t on the way people interpret my acting as long as they have fun. Also, the joke is on the characters, not the actors.

                        Did P. Jackson complain on this .gif? I'm ready to believe he would laugh too, considering his first movies, wouldn't he?

                        But indeed, nothing is important in this .gif, except maybe the value you give. Pity...
                        Free the West Memphis Three


                        • #13
                          I think the joke would be on the characters if it was a series of drawings in lieu of the stills from the movie. And many actors have suffered from unlucky associations that were made ... oh, isn't he ther guy that ...?
                          Google ergo sum


                          • #14
                            Sure, but did Elijah Wood suffer of any reputation except being a great actor? Excuse my french, but really I believe some people really have a stick to remove from their... if you see what I mean.

                            As I see no valuable argument, I put back the .gif in my signature. For further complain, please send me Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood and the Tolkien society representative. If they seem offfended, I'll remove it with true apologizes.
                            Free the West Memphis Three


                            • #15
                              If I was the actor, I'd laugh. Why are people so bothered about being thought gay?
                              \" ape reft of his tail, and grown rusty at climbing, who yet feels himself to be a symbol and the frail representative of Omnipotence in a place that is not home.\" James Branch Cabell