Wednesday, March 03, 2004
 
Protected Words

If a community is like a household, what are we to make of the artist whose intention is to offend? What is spoken and what is acted are often disparate. Would you welcome into your home a stranger who proclaimed the desire to offend you and generate vileness? To do so contradicts self-respect and respect for loved ones. By the same token, a community is not under obligation to welcome such a person. The public has no right to require a community to submit to or support statements that offend it.

Many artists and writers have felt it their duty - a mark of their honest courage - to offend their audience. If the artist has a duty to offend, does not the audience have a duty to be offended? If the public has a duty to protect speech that is offensive to the community, does not the community have a duty to respond, to be offended, and so defend itself against the offense? A community has no right to silence publicly protected speech, but it must have a right to not listen and to refuse patronage to speech it finds offensive. It is remarkable that many writers and artists appear to be unable to accept this limitation on their public freedom. There is a notion in place that freedom entitles them not only to be offensive but to also be approved and subsidized by those who are offended.

Anger that lingers in a heart affects all thought and action. May yours be pure and clear.


- posted by -g @ 7:10 PM | | 0 rocks in pond



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