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DAVIDSON: Pushing the Envelope of Vulgarity for Publicity & Profit (Opinion)

Without forethought…

Jeff Davidson

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Some groups in America were founded on a noble purpose – to preserve the rights of the individual. What happens, however, when preserving the rights of the individual contributes to the erosion of society? Under the guise of free speech and individual rights, some organizations defend those who keep pushing the envelope of crassness and vulgarity for publicity and profit.

What if tens of thousands of budding songwriters begin to emulate the worst of rap videos? What if everyone decides to create horrific, violent, titillating, misogynistic videos? What if everyone sports tattoos on their arms, backs, and shoulders, or wears nose rings, eyebrow rings, and nipple rings? Such behavior doesn’t clog our roadways, and is a matter of individual choice, so what harm does it cause to society?

Emergency Room Emergencies

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Aside from the health aspects of body piercings (data indicate a sizable number of participants experience serious infection and hepatitis), they pose problems of safety to both the individual indulging in the behavior and to others nearby. What happens when such rings catch on clothes, switches, buttons, and technological gadgets?

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As a society, do we accept visitors to hospital emergency rooms on Saturday nights whose body piercings have resulted in serious health conditions? Since taxpayer dollars fund healthcare services for many, including expensive emergency room visits, the negative health impacts of certain behaviors incur a direct cost to all citizens.

We pay social costs as well when crudity is broadcast to us and to our children.
In our evermore interconnected existence, individual choices have vast impacts on others. Vulgar public speech and potentially health-damaging body piercings go beyond the realm of acceptable free speech. Do talk show guests discussing topics like leniency for incest and infidelity, understand the ramifications of their behavior? What if everyone they know did what they suggest? Would relationships break down? Would families fracture? Within a single generation, would all of society break down?

We Each Impact One Another

The notion of expanding what we do, and surmising what effect it would have if it were socially pervasive behavior, yields a hands-on realization: What we do and how we behave is important. So is what our neighbors do and how they behave.

In many respects, the more densely populated your town, the more vital it is to recognize that your behavior does impact those around you. If you live in a suburban setting, where farm animals are otherwise few and far between, but choose to house a rooster in your backyard, your choice most definitely impacts people all around you.

Perhaps a neighbor gets off the late shift at 2 a.m. and needs to be sound asleep… while you bird starts crowing at 5:30 a.m. every morning. The zoning laws of your town might state that it’s legal for you to house a rooster in your backyard. As such, is exercising your right conducive to harmonious relations with your neighbors?

Welcome to My Opinion

Suppose you feel strongly about an issue and post signs facing the street in your living room window. As you become more vigilant, you place a sign on your porch. Later, you place some signs on your lawn. Perhaps you’ve adorned your car bumper stickers with highly politicized messages.

The above actions likely are within your legal rights. Is your free expression, however, undermining the peace and tranquility in your otherwise quiet neighborhood? Suppose you’re a Democrat and your signs rankle neighborhood Republicans. Suppose the opposite is true. Do you not have other forums in which to express yourself?

What if your neighbor across the street is perturbed by your partisan display and responds in kind with his own set of banners, signs, and bumper stickers? Have the two of you improved the neighborhood? What if everyone in the neighborhood starts up? How long will it be before signs disappear as opposing neighbors start pilfering from each other?

Without Forethought

Because you have a right to express yourself, in this manner or in that, doesn’t mean you ought to or that it’s advisable. Free expression, without regard to context and greater ramifications, can undermine a neighborhood, as it can undermine a society.

News

Apple Backs Down, Will Allow Parler Back on App Store

The news is seen as a major boost for the First Amendment.

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Free speech is a fickle thing, and precious too.  If we’re not careful, it can be stripped away but those who hide behind the claim that a “private” company can limit your personal freedoms. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms are almost always the culprits here, bending the algorithmic reach of those with whom they disagree. Enter Parler:  A free speech app where only the bare legal minimum of content would be moderated. The platform became incredibly popular with an astonishing swiftness, but soon faced trouble from companies who had previously aligned themselves with Facebook and Twitter’s more controlling stance. Apple, who had previously booted Parler from its App Store, has now relented to the Constitution. Apple has approved Parler’s return to the iOS app store following improvements the social media company made to better detect and moderate hate speech and incitement, according to a letter the iPhone maker sent to Congress on Monday. The decision clears the way for Parler, an app popular with conservatives including some members of the far right, to be downloaded once again on Apple devices. The letter — addressed to Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Ken Buck and obtained by CNN — explained that since the app was removed from Apple’s platform in January for violations of its policies, Parler “has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices.” On April 14, Apple’s app review team told Parler that its proposed changes were sufficient, the letter continued. Now, all Parler needs to do is to flip the switch. The news is seen as a major boost for the First Amendment.

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Opinion

Oath Keeper Leader Claims Police are Training Militias for ‘Civil War’

And the FBI seems to agree with him!

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At the very end of the first term of Donald Trump’s presidency, we were as close to a civil war as this nation has come in over a dozen decades, and we may not fully appreciate that yet.  We are, perhaps, too close to the events themselves to fully understand just how narrowly we escaped a broader calamity, but we must try to remain vigilant still. Especially if what one of the leaders of the Oath Keepers says is true. The far-right paramilitary the Oath Keepers is home to active-duty law-enforcement officers who are training up other members to prepare for civil war, according to one of the group’s top figures. CBS News’ 60 Minutesprofiled the the increasingly notorious militia on Sunday night, and one of its leaders from Arizona, Jim Arroyo, spoke openly about the close involvement of police officers. “Our guys are very experienced,” said Arroyo. “We have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement and in fact, in a lot of cases, our training is much more advanced because of our military backgrounds.” And the government seems to already be away of this. Arroyo’s statement was backed up by Javed Ali, an ex-National Security Council senior director and FBI counterterrorism official, who said the Oath Keepers are a “unique and challenging” threat to the U.S. because a “large percentage have tactical training and operational experience in either the military or law enforcement. That at least gives them a capability that a lot of other people in this far-right space don’t have.” Several members of the Oath Keepers were arrested during the January 6th Capitol riot, as they attempted to prevent the certification of the results of the 2020 election by Congress.

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