Dispatches from the Suburbs of Hell

Heaven is for the obedient. Hell is for the wrathful. What of the ones in between? We wind up in the Suburbs. Our sin is individuality. Our punishment is boredom. But at least we're in good company.

Location: New England, United States

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I Too Am Spartacus

Those of you versed in blogspace are no doubt aware of the flap surrounding Shakespeare's Sister. One of my dear friends, Kodos, a sometime collaborator on Shake's, informed me of the situation. I have come to add my voice to the list of Bloggers who support Shakespeare's Sister.

Let's get something straight: I entertain no delusions about what I do here. I'm not a journalist; I'm a guy with an internet connection and too much free time. Nothing I post here is intended to be high art or words that will stir men to mighty deeds (although if I rouse a little rabble, I get a perverse little kick out of it). The thought that someone might find life-changing wisdom in my tirades against the tiny annoyances of life is frankly laughable. Nevertheless, the Written Word is a powerful thing, and always will be, whether it comes in print or electronic form. A story, a turn of phrase, can inspire great things in man, for good or ill. This has been true as long as language has existed. I'm not so pretentious as to compare my blog to the likes of the Saint Crispin's Day Speech or the Gettysburg Address as a call to arms, but I will say this: what is happening, here and now, is DANGEROUS.

What we are witnessing here is nothing new: a concerted effort by a confederacy of the small-minded to silence a person they have judged dangerous. What is new here, however, is the SPEED of the effort. That is the gift and curse of the Internet: information travels instantaneously to all points of the globe. Now, a blog piece can be posted, and immediately a response can be made. This, I think, is in detriment to the process of political debate: rather than respond to a criticism with a reasoned, well-thought-out argument, the norm is to respond quickly with a sound bite or a piece of prepared propaganda. Now, instead of rational dialogue, we have tempers flare and insults hurled back and forth, and the results are instantaneous. Now, a politico or a religious leader who find a line of thought objectionable can immediately stir up a group of followers in a remote part of the planet. Now, a dangerous person can be INSTANTLY snuffed out, without a chance to defend themselves and without a clear paper trail as to who gave the order. This is dangerous, and this is what's happening. This is detrimental, not only to the concept of free speech, but to the concept of a free society. This, boys and girls, is how democracies die. When its citizens are afraid to speak their minds, afraid to do anything other than toe the party line, freedom is lost. Rational discourse is lost. All the things that made the Dream That Was America great, are lost. And we spiral down toward oblivion.

As I said, I entertain no delusions as to the clout or power I wield in blogspace, but all that power, such as it is, is behind Shakespeare's Sister and its ilk: those who provide a rational alternative to the hooting primates that seem to run things these days.

Freedom Forever.


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