Hey pals ‘n’ buddies!
Y’know, I’ve been hearing a LOT of very angry chitty-chat from far-right butter dicks about how (WAHHH!) their idiot opinions are being silenced and (BOO-HOO-HOO) their First Amendment rights have been squashed. One question: If that’s true, THEN WHY AM I STILL HEARING THEIR STUPID OPINIONS?
Look, I’m not saying this First Amendment stuff isn’t tricky, but what some of these furious, fragile snowflakes don’t understand is that there’s a difference between stating an opinion and assuming their opinions are safe from consequences.
Example: In the past few days, Facebook and Instagram have (at least temporarily) banned Trump, while Twitter not only permanently booted the president, but thousands of election-fraud conspiracy theorists as well. Meanwhile Parler—the social media platform of choice for emotionally delicate domestic terrorists—had their plug pulled by Amazon, Google, and Apple. (Let's be real, though: After years of turning a blind eye to these dangerous liars, these tech giants only did the right thing when it was politically expedient to do so. So forgive me if I don’t send Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Dorsey a bouquet of cookies.)
But there’s a very logical reason these shutdowns aren’t a violation of these cry babies’ First Amendment rights. Imagine, if you will, a scenario: It’s post-COVID, and you’re having a large party to celebrate the start of season 23 of TV’s hit show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. (That’s a weird idea for a party… but you do you.)
Everybody’s having a good time, watching past episodes, and drinking every time Det. Odafin “Fin” Tutuola (Ice-T) walks into a gruesome murder scene and says, “That’s messed up.”
Suddenly, Seth—a relative newcomer to your SVU watch parties, invited by your friend Susan… or was it that butthole Trevor? Doesn’t matter—loudly proclaims, “Mariska Hargitay (who plays Captain Olivia Benson) is a third-rate community theater actor who has all the personality of a spoon-full of mayonnaise.”
The room falls silent. A champagne flute shatters on the ground. And then… a low, rumbling rage builds to a crescendo within each partygoer until it eventually explodes, and Seth—like the tragic victims of Pompeii—is buried alive under the searing lava of retaliatory smackdowns. (I mean, C'MON SETH! Everyone knows that Mariska Hargitay is actually a PHENOMENAL actor who's won Emmy, Golden Globe, People’s Choice, AND MTV Music Video Awards! No wonder no one likes you!)
Seth is rightly and hurriedly ejected from the party (his coat thrown at him by a guest who was much kinder than I would’ve been) and stands in the driveway screaming into the ether: “I HAVE BEEN CENSORED! THESE SVU FANATICS HAVE VIOLATED MY FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS! And lest I forget, CANCEL CULTURE!!”
Here’s why Seth is full of shit. (Clarification: Seth was full of shit before he entered the party; we know this because his name is Seth. Anyway.) If Seth wanted to express his very wrongheaded opinion about Mariska Hargitay in a public setting (say, on a street corner next to the bullhorn preachers who correctly point out that I’m damned to hell), that is clearly his right—and it’s our right to respond “Oh shut up, dummy” or simply roll our eyes and walk away reading Mariska Hargitay fan fiction on our phones. BUT! Seth uttered his dipshit opinion in YOUR home at YOUR SVU party—which means you had every right to shut that nonsense down and throw his trifling ass OUT.
The fragile Seths of the world can scream all they want about being censored, but facts are facts: If you’re in my house (welcome to the Portland Mercury!) or for that matter, Dorsey’s Twitter or that bowl-cut robot’s Facebook, you’re there because you’ve been invited to the party. But as my guest, if you violate the values of my party/business (issuing threats, causing harm to others, or just generally stirring up shit), don’t act shocked or offended when I, or those who agree with our values, come at you HARD and suddenly you’re standing in the driveway looking like Ted Cruz with a pee stain on his Dockers.
In short, you are entitled to your opinion—and the rest of us are entitled to react to it accordingly, whether agreeing with it, disagreeing, or kicking you out because you’re a turd. Because if responsible business owners/party hosts were to simply ignore these angry powder puffs and let them run wild? Well, in the immortal words of Detective “Fin” Tutuola, “That’s messed up.” (Take a drink.)
Wm. Steven Humphrey
P.S. Help the Mercury stay in the game by becoming a regular monthly contributor! You’re the best! Mmmm-WAH!