I Demand You Agree With This

There was a story last week about the governor of West Virginia, who was so outraged over a joke T-shirt that he demanded 1) that the seller remove them from its stores and catalog, 2) recall them, and 3) destroy them. The company refused. My tagline: “…In other news, the indignant governor said no, it’s untrue that only inbred buffoons think they can stop people from telling jokes.”

Quite a few people wrote to say they “agreed with the governor” — they too thought the shirts were rude. That’s not what the story, nor the tagline, were about, and I’m surprised so many readers completely missed it.

Ever Hear of Free Speech?

The issue is this: what does any government official think he’s doing by ordering someone to give up their Constitutional rights? I speak, of course, of our First Amendment right of free speech. Like many politicians, he probably swore an oath to defend the Constitution, not whine like an idiot when someone exercises their rights, even if he doesn’t like what they have to say.

The design still sells.

Indeed, there’s no need to guarantee speech everyone likes, is there?

Sure the shirt is rude; that’s why they made it. That’s why people buy it. And the governor played into their hands by giving them huge publicity by making laughable — and illegal — demands.

So what does someone from West Virginia have to say about it? Here’s “D” from that state: “My wife, kids and I got a kick out of the A&F T-shirt, and a bigger kick out of soon-to-be-former Governor Wise’s demands when they hit the media. Where can we buy one? A&F is backordered, as are certain people backordered on a sense of humor. The T-shirt printing presses are running for all other states with a similar ‘reputation’, of which there are MANY. Utah would be a good example (and you thought I was going to say Kentucky or Arkansas…).”

Does anyone really think A&F would be out of shirts (temporarily, I’m sure!) if the governor hadn’t acted like an “inbred buffoon” and made demands he had no right to make?

I don’t.

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5 Comments on “I Demand You Agree With This

  1. If only Vince Sabio’s Humornet list was still running (the archives are still available (after I mailed him to say I couldn’t get to them ;-)), and its footnote on every Collage:

    “Anyone without a sense of humor is at the mercy of the rest of us”.

    I run a couple of jokes lists and there’s all sorts of material on them, and poking fun at all sorts of people from all walks of life. But if anyone pokes fun at me for whatever reason I laugh at it. The Governor of West Virginia should “get a life”.

    Humournet was a fabulous resource, but ended when Vince got too busy at work. Darn those day jobs anyway! The archive is still around, but is often offline. -rc

  2. Like Martin, I laugh when people poke fun at me, and I’m often shocked when people take jokes I make other than in the spirit they’re meant. When real problems arise, though, is when people try to make me unwelcome by making fun of me, given that it doesn’t work because I genuinely enjoy it… 🙂

  3. Your link to this article from your recent email reads “readers agitate for the government to take away their right to free speech. Yeah, really!” But that’s not right at all. Nobody ever agitates for the government to take away THEIR rights. Only those of the other guy!

    Yeah, like it would stop there! -rc

  4. Utahns may be many mockable things, but “inbred” isn’t one of them; I doubt there’s anyone less likely to marry his sister (or cousin) than someone from Utah. Not sure where “D from WV” learns his stereotypes from, but he missed it on that one. Must be a consequence of Pa being Ma’s younger brother….

  5. Contrary to unthinking popular opinion, there is no Freedom From Discomfort, Insult and Offense. Freedom of Speech confers neither a right to an audience nor a right to be taken seriously. It does mean one has the Freedom to Offend but it also includes the Freedom to Ignore, a freedom is not exercised enough, especially by the perpetually indignant and those who take the perpetually indignant seriously.

    Reading the MSM reveals a tendency to create a new set of liberal Four Freedoms — all based on feelings:

    1. Freedom from Discomfort, Insult and Offense
    (Stop whistling those dirty songs.)

    2. Freedom from Responsibility and Cause & Effect
    (It’s not my [or their] fault, ever; although it might be yours.)

    3. Freedom from Reason & Absolutes
    (It is inconvenient and undesirable for that condition to be true.)

    4. Freedom from Knowledge & Debate
    (Don’t confuse me with your set of alleged facts; what I tell you three times is true. If you don’t understand that you are just stupid…and a bigot; and so are your sources).

    Too many people believe they have already been ratified.

    I prefer my new 4 Freedoms with an emphasis on “FREEDOM” and a disregard for the feelings of the self-indulgent:

    1. Freedom to Ignore Irrational Demands
    2. Freedom to Laugh & Appreciate Humor
    3. Freedom to Refuse Implied Guilt
    4. Freedom to Verify Statements & Refute Liars

    I hope another reader will offer a similarly well-written “new set of conservative Four Freedoms” in response. -rc


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