Our Constitution has been under fire for years. I remember when flag burning was an outrage even after the Supreme Court upheld that burning the flag was an expression of free speech. I also remember a time, about 25 years ago, when my son was a teen that I was disparaging our “damned free speech” because it was getting so that every bit of self expression by anyone seemed to fall under “the right to free speech.”
Now, understand, at that time I was a public school teacher and I guarantee you that teachers DO NOT have the right to free speech. We have to placate irate parents whose darlings are out of control. The parents have given up but expect teachers to do miracles. We want to pull a “Dr. Phil” and say -- What in the HELL made you think THAT was a good idea.” Or, when the child is making failing grades in every subject and the parents innocently say, “He told me he was doing his work.” Again, we call on Dr. Phil..... “And you believed that when he brought home failing grades at the mid-term report?”
Oh, well, a different subject for a different time.... Now, where was I? Oh, yes, free speech. I think our social media is a prime example that we seem to now have a world wide acceptance of free speech. People in governments where they cannot chastise their leaders will get on Facebook and express their opinions through photos, quotes, and other available emojis. It has become so that everyone can comment on everything, about everything, and in any way they want to.
The latest conflict seems to be about Roseanne Barr and some of her comments that have been deemed racist. I enjoyed Roseanne in her early days. I remember when she was a stand up comedienne before her show took off. I thought she was sarcastic and funny. The only problem with Roseanne’s comedy, from my standpoint, was that it became very predictable. That can be said of many comics, so no harm, no foul. She never had any finesse in her comedy, so why anyone would expect her to now amazes me. She flaunted bad taste when singing at a baseball game a few years ago, so why the surprise that she is still unable to know the difference between comedy and derision? We can laugh at the writers and appreciate her delivery of those lines without admiring her as a person. The problem seems to, once again, fall into some kind of political struggle as those who are upset that she was fired and the second running of her show is already canceled. What you have to realize about free speech is that although we have a right to express ourselves however we wish, there are consequences when someone disagrees with the way or the severity of our comments. Roseanne simply pooped in the wrong yard. She disparaged someone rudely and cruelly who had done nothing to deserve it and her comments were dealt with by those in charge in a way they had to for them to express THEIR freedom of speech.
I have no respect for Roseanne and have long ago found her to be crass and tasteless, even though when I see a rerun of her show I seem bound to watch for a few minutes. She does have an understanding of the sense of timing and the looks that get the point across in her own special brand of comedy.
I have thought for many, many years that comedy has crossed over into both politics and religion for some of their material in a surprisingly harsh way at times. Sometimes I have laughed and sometimes I have not. It has usually depended upon who is being roasted and how much I like them. That is what inevitably free speech boils down to... We are free to express ourselves, but we have to realize that not everyone is going to agree.
Something To Ponder