(This one is entirely stream-of-semiconsciousness, folks. It's going to ramble worse than usual.)
If you want something said right, quote Kipling.
Kipling wrote those words in a poem entitled 'Dawn Wind', subtitled 'The 15th Century', in a collection of poems on the history of England. The 15th century was the beginning of the Renaissance, literally, the rebirth -- the rebirth of Western Civilization from the ruins of Rome, the end of centuries of darkness, ignorance, and decay. The slide backwards had halted -- it was time to slowly, painfully, and with many missteps and errors, begin moving forward once again.
So it is with the Supreme Courts ruling on the so-called "Communications Decency Act". The darkness that reigned from February of 1996 to June of 1997 has been dispelled. We can stop fearing, stop plotting ways to merely preserve what we already have, and begin, at last, to grow again.
Or, to put it another way....
We WON! Bite me, Senator Exon! Eat my shorts, Senator Coats! I burst my pimples at you, President Clinton! And fuck all you fascist pigs at the AFA, FRC, OCAF, and all the rest of the alphabet soup nazis! I am dancing the manu-weasel on your faces! Victory dance in the endzone! Home run! Black Lotus/Channel/Fireball/Fork! Neener neener neener!
Cough. Ahem. Sorry about that.
Now then -- according to the official "How To Write A CDA Victory Statement" handbook, I am now supposed to state, in Serious Tones, and with Deep Concern, that The Fight Is Not Yet Over. There will be Other Threats. We must be Eternally Vigilant. Etc.
Like you needed me to tell you that? Exon is gone and his spawn with him, but there's 535 other abominations out there, each eager to drain, despoil, and destroy anything which they do not understand -- or which they understand all too well. We'll battle them as they arise. But tonight -- we party. We have scored a major victory, do not doubt that for a moment. The battle is won but the war goes on? Here's some wisdom for your use -- The war never ends. "You can have freedom or you can have peace -- never count on having both at the same time." (Heinlein) There will never be a final victory for liberty, not in Cyberspace, not in Meatspace. They will try again -- and again -- and again. And I'll keep fighting. I'm far too much of a coward not to.
OK, on to a few specifics, and a few retractions...
First off, here's something I sent to the fight-censorship list on 6/20/97:
I'm going to be sans access during the likley time that the SC hands down the CDA decision, so I feel I might as well open-mouth, insert-foot now.
PreDICtion! 5-4 to narrowly strike down the 'Displays in a manner available' clause. 'Specific child' clause upheld, 6-3.
Here's hoping I'm completely, utterly, totally, embarassingly wrong. I will issue a full retraction if I am, and even make a big deal about it on my web site.
Well, there's not much else to say but....I WAS WRONG! I goofed up. I erred. I miscalculated. I...well, you get the idea.
Secondly, I have had several email exchanges with several people on the subject of how Scalia would vote. Despite my grudging acknowledgement of some of his better decisions, I was convinced, based on his reasoning in Denver and other First Amendment cases, that he'd be an impassioned dissenter to any opinion striking down the CDA.
He signed on to the majority opinion and didn't even join Rehnquist and O'Connor in their fairly mild partial dissent.
While I am more than slightly inclined to beat a dead horse, I stop at the point where the horse and sidewalk have become indistinguishably blurred. Scalia greatly exceeded my expectations in this case. Good one, Tony.
And, hey -- Thomas didn't play shadow to Rehnquist, either -- for once. Good one, Clarence. Maybe in five or ten years, you'll be the Justice I hoped you could be during those hearings.
Clinton's appointees all voted against him. To quote Nelson from 'The Simpsons' -- Hah hah!
Oh yes...and a special 'Hah hah!' to Cathy Cleaver and Bruce Taylor, who made a large number of predictions of imminent success in their book-burning efforts and have ended up sputtering about 'pornographers stalking our children'....as if this was ever about pornography and children.
Of course, let's not ignore the American mass media, a classic example of the 'beast too dumb to know that its dead' problem. Despite the fact that the cornerstone of the CDA decisions by the Supremes was that this law wasn't about pornography, wasn't about children, was about free speech between adults, every smegging newscast illustrated the story with pixellated nude images intercut with Innocent Children straight from central casting. Attention, Jackals Of The Press -- have you any sense of shame?
Moving on to the international scene, this decision should dissappoint and depress book-burners the world 'round. Many of them took the mere prescence of the CDA to mean they would have the cooperation of the US in their own censorship efforts -- its ignominious defeat means their censorship laws will be virtually worthless, as if they weren't already. Ask the Nottingham Council. Like it or not, Euroweenies, as goes the US, so goes Europe -- if we keep our little corner of the Internet free, you get a free Internet, too. Try to show a little gratititude, huh?
And, as a final exercise in kicking them while they're down, I decided to check out the Pro-CDA pages listed in Yahoo...all nine of them. (snicker) Let's see how they're faring, shall we?
But more to the point, the site doesn't have a press release or comment on the decision yet.
New! Addendum. Go to her page, and check out the link called 'Moral Ideas For America'. Either the link has been badly hacked, or she was badly snookered (like I said, censors aren't very bright) when she put it up. In any event, it's hardly the sort of thing I'd expect to find such and upright, decent, moral, site linked to. I'd write and tell her about the error, but she told me not to write to her anymore, and I'm far too moral and ethical a person to invade someone else's mailbox against their express wishes.
(Just in case the link is cleaned up/changed, when I checked it on 6/29/97, it connected to a very explicit hardcore gay 'action shot', which in turn linked to some sort of porno search engine. Ironically enough, this is one of the very few times I've ever encountered sexual imagery on the net 'without warning'. Don't tell the Supremes.)
Well, there you have it. A grand tour of Yahoo's pro-CDA category -- several nonexistent pages, several 'cobwebsites', and one front organization for a failed bimbo. Banality of evil, anyone?
We won. Go party.
Some addendum thoughts, comments, etc. This list will probably grow over time.
Random Fun Idea Organize a mission to visit Ex-Senator Exon's retirement residence and stand around outside it, holding a demonstration to 'rub it in'. Yes, I'm a vengeful bastard. I want them to suffer. I want each any every one of them to feel shame, humiliation, despair, and depression. The problem, of course, is that, to a man/woman, none of the backers of the CDA ever once believed it would 'protect the children', nor did any of them actually care about doing so. The CDA was always about politics and power. The defeat of the CDA, to them, means only a minor political setback and a chance to make pompous speeches about "turning our children over to the pornographers", and cry crocodile tears all the way to the bank, where they will deposit the copious contributions made by gullbile fools like Kathy, above, who did sincerely believe in the CDA. (She also believes that carpenters rise from the dead, a delusion brought on by playing too much Super Mario Brothers and not realizing they're plumbers.) Ah, well. With any luck, she, and the other rank-and-file idiots who believed the lies of their leaders, are depressed, and I can take some small comfort in that. The thought of a censor crying fills my heart with unbounded joy.
Addendum:A recent swing by to see if this site had been updated got the blessed "404 Not Found" error. A momentary system failure, or another notch on my keyboard? Time will tell...
How do you know a Congresscritter is lying? His heart is beating. Check out my response to Sen. Coats' response to the CDA ruling.
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