Sunday, September 23, 2007

The First Amendment v. obnoxious

The Kathy Griffin statement at the Emmys has certainly stirred up a hornets' nest. Because millions of Americans have died for her right to say whatever she darn pleases, I have to defend the First Amendment here. However, was it offensive to hundreds of thousands of people? Of course. Was it offensive to me? Yes. But she's been offensive before, and in fact, that's been her stock in trade. Why should anyone be surprised? Her act has always been foul-mouthed, and sometimes she goes over the edge. In my opinion, this particular speech was way past the edge. It was tasteless, uncivil, rude, uncouth, vulgar, and loutish. And I think it probably hurt some of her other causes.

It seems disingenous to me for a bemused Kathy to ask if she's the only Catholic left with a sense of humor. She had to know that her statment would create a firestorm. She's a writer. She knows the power of words.

But will I demand that she be muzzled, thrown off the air, ridden out of town, and forced to make a public apology because she said something that was personally repugnant to me? Nope. If I find her speech offensive, I don't have to listen to it. My TV can be turned off as well as on. America is still the land of the free, and that's good for all of us. Let's not make Kathy Griffin our very own Salman Rushdie.

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