For years, all over the Internet, I have heard people claim that their freedom of speech was being infringed. Not by the government creating ‘Freedom Zones’. No. Because people got angry at them for being an ass on a message board, or a forum’s administrator suspended them for homophobia, or a blogger deleted their comments. “Censorship!” they scream. “WHAT ABOUT FREE SPEECH!?!!?

This annoys me to no end. If you write an Amazon review that disobeys their review standards, it will get pulled. If you flout the rules of a discussion space, you will get banned. Your presence and your speech there are privileges, not rights, and they have just as much right to boot or gag you as you have to pull up a Bush/Cheney sign that someone put in YOUR yard.

It gets even sillier when a person with an unpopular opinion claims that people disagreeing with them — or even trying to debate them, or calling them names — constitutes ‘censorship’ or ‘quashing my freedom of speech.’ Wow! Merely by saying someone’s an ignorant asshole for thinking all Muslims are terrorists, I’m quashing his freedom of speech? AWESOME! I have the Voice! I have superpowers! TREMBLE BEFORE ME!

Or not. At any rate, this disease of believing that disagreement is censorship appears not to be limited to the internet. In fact, I would really, really have hoped that lawyers

would understand that their freedom of speech is wholly unaffected by people making T-shirts about them. But apparently not.

There are a bunch of computer geeks out there who think that the video game industry has a constitutional right to paint a bullseye on your back and on your officers’ backs but that I do not have a constitutional right to point out on 60 Minutes or anywhere else that they do not have that “constitutional right.”

Sigh. Those gamers making fun of you on the intertron sure are oppressing you, Mr. Lawyer. I must have missed where a bunch of angry geeks were suing to suppress…anything. Or using their vast governmental powers to quash you and send you to an offshore prison camp. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if a game company

were to sue you for libel. But, we the small people of the internet, hating you with all our might? Nothing to do with your right to make a display of your ignorance and illogic. Some of us may be badly socialized, illiterate, ineloquent and vituperative; but none of us can shut you up, no matter how much we’d like to do so. If you still don’t get it, give the ACLU a call and see if they’ll prosecute the Gaming Hivemind for you.

Rage on, little ragebeam. Fight the power!


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