ChrisWeigant.com

In Defense Of Pamela Geller's First Amendment Rights

[ Posted Thursday, May 7th, 2015 – 15:57 PDT ]

I write today not to defend Pamela Geller, or to defend anything she has ever said or done. Much of what she says and does I consider rather indefensible, in fact. Instead, I write today in defense of Pamela Geller's absolute right to freely say and do what she wants. I write in defense of her rights, but that in no way means I would even attempt to defend her words or ideas, which I find odious in the extreme.

But I am actually amazed at the level of hypocrisy there is out there in reaction to the terrorist attack on Pamela Geller's event, a contest to select the best cartoon portrayal of Mohammed. Because the event itself is so offensive and provocative (in the strongest sense of that word), few who were gladly proclaiming "Je suis Charlie Hebdo!" not so long ago are now speaking up for Pamela Geller's right to do exactly the same thing. That's a shame, in my opinion, because to be on the side of freedom of speech and the First Amendment means occasionally defending odious people, ideas, or events. It comes with the territory, but there are many who are too squeamish to be ideologically consistent on the issue.

Popular speech never needs protecting. Why should it? Everyone agrees with it. It's popular. From whom would it need protection?

Unpopular speech is the speech that needs defending. The more unpopular, the stronger a defense it needs, in fact. Free speech legal battles are universally over unpopular speech. Unpopular speech is always -- always -- the speech that needs defending, because it is precisely the speech that is always attacked.

I wrote an article a while back entitled "Nous Sommes Charlie Hebdo" to proclaim that we were all now Charlie -- all of us who valued free speech over terrorism and violence. And, as painful as it is to admit it or to agree with it, we are all now Pamela Geller as well. You simply can't have it both ways.

After all, they both did the same thing. They made public drawings of the prophet of Islam, in an attempt to be provocative. Sure, you can argue over the differing levels of being provocative the two represent, and you can also surely argue over the motivations or the reasons why they each published Mohammed cartoons. But their intent does not matter when talking about their free speech rights (I realize a French magazine is not protected by the United States Constitution, but I'm talking about the general principle here, so please forgive this inconsistency). Because they both did exactly the same thing, albeit in different venues (you could even argue the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were more provocative, because the method of publication meant that more people probably saw them).

Many who were quick to proclaim solidarity with the French magazine after the horrific attack actually later had second thoughts, if they bothered to search online to see the cartoons in question. Some of these cartoons were pretty downright tasteless, and not really funny at all. In fact, one might even call some of them hateful (or bigoted, at the very least). Those now quick to condemn Geller might want to check out the cartoons from her event as well [note: I refuse to support Geller's website in any way, including linking to it, so you'll have to do your own web search to find these cartoons, sorry]. While many are pretty juvenile and unfunny (and bigoted and hateful), at least one was actually thought-provoking. The image is one of an angry Mohammed wielding a sword, stating: "You can't draw me!" An arm with a pen represents the cartoonist, who answers back: "That's why I draw you." That is a valid point about free speech, simply and aptly made in a cartoon -- much like the better of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons managed to do.

Many are now conflicted about supporting Pamela Geller's right to put on such an event. It was, obviously, meant to provoke as strong a reaction as possible. She may even have hoped for a violent confrontation. Her motives are not pure, not by a long shot. Many have labeled her group a "hate group" and condemn her cartoon show as promoting "hate speech." But hate speech is also constitutionally-protected. Because -- and here's the key to understanding why -- if it were banned, who would decide? Who would decide "that political ad is too hateful, you can't run it"? Who would decide "this cartoon is too offensive to a certain group of people"? And that's before even getting into the sticky issue of what "blasphemy" should not be allowed. Luckily for us all, the "right to not be offended" does not actually exist in American law. Nor should it.

The Supreme Court is pretty clear on the matter. "Fighting words" are not protected free speech, but they require immediacy and being face to face. A published cartoon falls outside that definition. The pivotal case on cartoons and free speech was actually fought by a Christian religious leader -- who lost to a pornographer. In the case of Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, the court unanimously upheld Larry Flynt's right to publish an incredibly offensive parody ad about Jerry Falwell. The parody was incredibly offensive because it stated, in Falwell's "own words" (the entire ad was fiction) that Falwell had had drunken sex with his mother in an outhouse as his "first time." The opinion of the Supreme Court is worth reading in full (it's not all that long). Here's a key excerpt [most legal citations removed for readability; and all bold emphasis is mine]:

Generally speaking the law does not regard the intent to inflict emotional distress as one which should receive much solicitude, and it is quite understandable that most if not all jurisdictions have chosen to make it civilly culpable where the conduct in question is sufficiently "outrageous." But in the world of debate about public affairs, many things done with motives that are less than admirable are protected by the First Amendment. In Garrison v. Louisiana, we held that even when a speaker or writer is motivated by hatred or ill will his expression was protected by the First Amendment:

"Debate on public issues will not be uninhibited if the speaker must run the risk that it will be proved in court that he spoke out of hatred; even if he did speak out of hatred, utterances honestly believed contribute to the free interchange of ideas and the ascertainment of truth."

Thus while such a bad motive may be deemed controlling for purposes of tort liability in other areas of the law, we think the First Amendment prohibits such a result in the area of public debate about public figures.

Were we to hold otherwise, there can be little doubt that political cartoonists and satirists would be subjected to damages awards without any showing that their work falsely defamed its subject. Webster's defines a caricature as "the deliberately distorted picturing or imitating of a person, literary style, etc. by exaggerating features or mannerisms for satirical effect." The appeal of the political cartoon or caricature is often based on exploitation of unfortunate physical traits or politically embarrassing events -- an exploitation often calculated to injure the feelings of the subject of the portrayal. The art of the cartoonist is often not reasoned or evenhanded, but slashing and one-sided. One cartoonist expressed the nature of the art in these words:

"The political cartoon is a weapon of attack, of scorn and ridicule and satire; it is least effective when it tries to pat some politician on the back. It is usually as welcome as a bee sting and is always controversial in some quarters."

That is precisely why I speak out today for Pamela Geller's right to free speech. Her ideas are odious and hateful, especially on the subject of Islam. She espouses offensive disrespect and is essentially what I would term a provocateuse (the feminine form of provocateur). She wants a reaction to what she does, and she doesn't even seem to particularly care if it's a violent reaction. She is to be condemned for such behavior, and for the positions she holds.

But supporting free speech means supporting such reprehensible things as Nazi skinheads who want to hold a public rally, or the Ku Klux Klan's right to march down Main Street. It also means supporting Pamela Geller's right to hold a cartoon contest. No matter what her motivations are, and no matter how offensive the cartoons are. To do otherwise is to be a fair-weather friend of free speech, at best. "Proclaiming solidarity for a French magazine is hip and cool," some people reason, "but supporting Pam Geller is obviously not," so they cherry-pick which free speech is deemed worthy of their support and which is not. This is nothing short of hypocrisy, folks.

Charlie Hebdo published cartoons satirizing Mohammed, and so did Geller. They were both attacked for doing so by terrorists. Standing up for free speech means you can't differentiate between the two, because the motivations involved have nothing to do with the principle of free speech itself.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

54 Comments on “In Defense Of Pamela Geller's First Amendment Rights”

  1. [1] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "we are all now Pamela Geller as well"

    You go ahead and have as much of that as you want Chris. Count me out. I am not Pamela Geller.

    Pam Geller is Slobodan Miloševi?. She is not an artist who draws satirical cartoons. She hates. They create. It is not the same thing.

    At best, you should defend the cartoonists at her hatefest (assuming that any actual cartoonists attended).

    Aside from the murderous criminals who disrupted Hate-a-palooza (and were killed on the spot), who is threatening her freedom of speech?

  2. [2] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    BTW - we're just one right-wing nutbag away from The Supremes declaring that bullets are speech.

  3. [3] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But, just to be clear, Pamela Geller is no Charlie Hebdo.

    Defending Pamela Geller is just about defending hate speech. Defending Charlie Hebdo after the Paris attacks is about defending the freedom of expression and the principle of the separation of religion and politics, that is to say, secularism.

  4. [4] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    In other words, I can have it both ways and I most passionately do! :)

  5. [5] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But I am actually amazed at the level of hypocrisy there is out there in reaction to the terrorist attack on Pamela Geller's event, a contest to select the best cartoon portrayal of Mohammed. Because the event itself is so offensive and provocative (in the strongest sense of that word), few who were gladly proclaiming "Je suis Charlie Hebdo!" not so long ago are now speaking up for Pamela Geller's right to do exactly the same thing.

    I think it is a mistake to equate what Charlie Hebdo does with what Geller does. Their respective work and work ethic are most decidedly NOT the same. One of the most important differences, among many, is the level of intelligence inherent in the work of Charlie Hebdo whereas with Geller there is none.

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    But I am actually amazed at the level of hypocrisy there is out there in reaction to the terrorist attack on Pamela Geller's event, a contest to select the best cartoon portrayal of Mohammed. Because the event itself is so offensive and provocative (in the strongest sense of that word), few who were gladly proclaiming "Je suis Charlie Hebdo!" not so long ago are now speaking up for Pamela Geller's right to do exactly the same thing.

    I think it is a mistake to equate what Charlie Hebdo does with what Geller does. Their respective work and work ethic are most decidedly NOT the same. One of the most important differences, among many, is the level of intelligence inherent in the work of Charlie Hebdo whereas with Geller there is none.

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    All Americans have First Amendment rights, even Pamela Geller.

    Just let's not equate her hateful and ignorant practice of those rights with the important work of Charlie Hebdo.

    That's all I'm saying ...

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well said, CW....

    Pamela Gellar IS Charlie Hedbo and Charlie Hedbo is Pamela Gellar...

    You hit it out of the park when you proclaimed that agreeable speech doesn't NEED first amendment protections..

    It's the disagreeable speech, the hurtful speech, the perverse speech...

    THOSE are the types that the First Amendment was created for...

    You practice what you preach, CW.. You practice that each and every day you allow me to comment here.. :D

    Michale

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    All Americans have First Amendment rights, even Pamela Geller.

    Just let's not equate her hateful and ignorant practice of those rights with the important work of Charlie Hebdo.

    That's all I'm saying ...

    That's a matter of opinion and I respect yours...

    But in the eyes of the law, the deaf and blind law, Pamela Gellar is Charlie Hedbo and Charlie Hedbo is Pamela Gellar...

    Michale

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    Pam Geller is Slobodan Miloševi?. She is not an artist who draws satirical cartoons. She hates. They create. It is not the same thing.

    At best, you should defend the cartoonists at her hatefest (assuming that any actual cartoonists attended).,/I>

    Says the man who hates so much... :D

    Aside from the murderous criminals who disrupted Hate-a-palooza (and were killed on the spot), who is threatening her freedom of speech?

    Well, aside from all the killing and death and destruction and tyranny, WWII would have been a pretty fun time.. :^/

    But seriously... Who is threatening her freedom of speech?

    People who claim she has no RIGHT to her free speech...

    Michale

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Pam Geller is Slobodan Miloševi?. She is not an artist who draws satirical cartoons. She hates. They create. It is not the same thing.

    She edits.. Just like Charlie Hedbo's editor, Gerard Biard...

    I am sure Mr Biard hates the people who shot up his workplace and brutally murdered his friends and co-workers...

    I have absolutely NO PROBLEM with someone who hates muslim terrorists...

    Because I happen to hate them too....

    What sane person WOULDN'T hate them??

    Oh, present company of course. :D

    It's rather funny. Muslim terrorists KILL people and they are defended..

    Christian shop owners just want to run their businesses according to their beliefs, something that First Amendment ALSO guarantees, and they are attacked and threatened and villified and demonized..

    Does not compute......

    Michale

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    The military has a name for what AFDI and Hedbo do...

    It's called Freedom Of Navigation exercises..

    We don't do these things because we have to or because we want to..

    We do these things to show that we have the RIGHT to...

    That no one has the right or the capability to prevent us from doing what we have the RIGHT to do...

    It's quite noble when you think about it...

    Michale

  13. [13] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    As I recall, a large part of the "Je suis Charlie Hebdo!" meme was that Charlie's cartoons should be replicated in other publications so everyone could see them. The "Je suis Pamela Geller" crowd needs to step up and publish some of her ethnic cleansing screeds.

    She has always said what she wants to say and she'll continue to do so. The constitution allows her to, but it doesn't guarantee her or anyone else that there will be no risk or repercussions for saying whatever is on one's mind.

    For example, Mikey Weinstein advocates for religious freedom in the US military and he gets mountains of hate mail and death threats from Republican christian terrists.

    Another example would be the God Hates Fags Pizzeria in Indiana. Nobody stopped them from spewing their hate speech, but they did gets lots of fake orders, really mean Yelp reviews, and a cash bonanza in response. On second thought, maybe they aren't a good example. Hate speech paid off for them.

  14. [14] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    OMG! The One Who Watches Words has censored my comment. My freedom of speech has been curtailed. I should've attached a Mo cartoon.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    OMG! The One Who Watches Words has censored my comment.

    How so???

    I have never stated, nor even implied that you don't have a right to post your hate...

    You can't make the same claim..

    Michale

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    When ya really look at it, the only real tangible difference between Geller and Hedbo is that Charlie Hedbo does what they do to make money..

    The AFDI does what they do to raise awareness...

    Michale

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    At best, you should defend the cartoonists at her hatefest (assuming that any actual cartoonists attended).

    Well, I don't know if they are an actual cartoonist

    http://freedomforce.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/P1040217-800x600.jpg

    But they are pretty good..

    Michale

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apparently, the winning cartoonist IS an actual cartoonist.. With a comic book series under his belt...

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/muhammad-cartoon-contest-winner-retreats-into-hiding-1430852911

    And now he has to go into hiding because islam just can't seem to get it's arse out of the Dark Ages...

    Michale

  19. [19] 
    TheStig wrote:

    The irony of all this is that nobody has the slightest idea of what The Prophet Mohammad actually looked like...Or Jesus, notwithstanding the Italian Police reverse aging the face on The Shroud of Turin to extrapolate how the Son O' God would have looked at his Bar Mitzvah, had such a custom existed in First Century CE Judea.

    Living in the United States legally obligates you to have a thick skin. It's about as settled as law gets. If this is a problem, you should move someplace else. Even if you don't reside in the US, there is, within semi-civilized societies, the notion of proportionality. It's eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life. Not "You insult my cousin, I kill you." Even the mafia gets this at a fundamental level....It's capo for capo more less, not the whole state of Jersey for a capo. They send wreaths. Ratcheting up is bad business, and at a practical level, religion is just another business, usually with pews and a vaguely institutional smell.

    It is well known that the law is ass, but Geller is an idiot and a bigger ass. She also got lucky. A cop knocked off two misfits armed with automatic weapons with his pistol! Hats off for quick reflexes and cool marksmanship, but how often is THAT gonna happen? The next incident is likely to involve marginally smarter thugs and truck bomb and perhaps a few hundred casualties. All for a pretty lame application of a noble principle. People who attend this kind of event in future might want to consider whether this is the martyrdom they want commemorated on their tombstone: "He/She died for a crudely drawn cartoon avenging another crudely drawn cartoon so a stupid beiatch can get attention. May he/she rest in pieces" Justice will likely be ultimately served, but at the very least, do your family a favor and review your insurance coverage.

  20. [20] 
    John M wrote:

    Michale wrote:

    "Christian shop owners just want to run their businesses according to their beliefs, something that First Amendment ALSO guarantees, and they are attacked and threatened and villified and demonized.."

    Except that the first amendment does NOT guarantee that. Commerce is NOT free speech. Government regulation of commerce is not the government banning of free speech. Nor does the first amendment protect them from the consequences of their free speech. It only protects them from government retaliation, NOT the retaliation of their fellow citizens who don't agree with them.

    Just like Corporations do NOT have religious beliefs.

    Just like there are laws against bribery and government corruption. Not all monetary contributions are free speech either. We still regulate those as well through bribery laws, conflict of interest laws, etc.

    The "Christian" bakers would be a lot better off if they went by the Ferengi Rule Of Acquisition #57 from Deep Space 9: "Good customers are almost as rare as latinum...treasure them."

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    Except that the first amendment does NOT guarantee that.

    We must be looking at different First Amendments...

    Because the one I am looking at reads:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    Emphasis mine... Notice that religion is the FIRST freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment. This is an important distinction which I will cover tomorrow..

    The "Christian" bakers would be a lot better off if they went by the Ferengi Rule Of Acquisition #57 from Deep Space 9: "Good customers are almost as rare as latinum...treasure them."

    Call me silly, but a customer who drags me to court because I don't share their beliefs??

    I wouldn't call them a "good customer"...

    And, to be honest, I don't think Quark would either..

    "Well, first I was gonna pop this guy hanging from the street light, and I realized, y'know, he's just working out. I mean, how would I feel if somebody come runnin' in the gym and bust me in my ass while I'm on the treadmill? Then I saw this snarling beast guy, and I noticed he had a tissue in his hand, and I'm realizing, y'know, he's not snarling, he's sneezing. Y'know, ain't no real threat there. Then I saw little Tiffany. I'm thinking, y'know, eight-year-old white girl, middle of the ghetto, bunch of monsters, this time of night with quantum physics books? She about to start some shit, Zed. She's about eight years old, those books are WAY too advanced for her. If you ask me, I'd say she's up to something. And to be honest, I'd appreciate it if you eased up off my back about it..... Or do I owe her an apology?"
    -Will Smith, MEN IN BLACK

    :D

    But, tell ya what.. I don't really want to drag this commentary off track due to my off the cuff comment..

    Why don't we have this discussion in the FTP commentary tonight/tomorrow where such tangents are common place...

    Michale

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    Liz,

    Defending Charlie Hebdo after the Paris attacks is about defending the freedom of expression

    I am curious...

    Defending Charlie Hedbo *BEFORE* the Paris attacks...

    What would THAT be??

    Defending hate speech??

    Or defending freedom of expression??

    I mean, I get it..

    Pamela Geller is not the spokesperson for freedom of expression against muslim terrorists that ya'all would choose...

    But, unless someone from the Left, someone more political acceptable to ya'all, wants to step up to the plate........

    Well, ya'all can't condemn Geller for stepping up if no one from the Left has the testicular fortitude to get the job done...

    Well, ya CAN..... But it rings a tad hollow, don'tcha think??

    Michale

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Interesting analysis of the Garland TX attack

    HE PUSHED FORWARD:
    Brave Garland Police Officer Advanced As He Brought Down Garland Terrorists

    http://bearingarms.com/pushed-forward-brave-garland-police-officer-advanced-brought-garland-terrorists/

    A 60 year old Police Officer ended the rampage of these scumbags in around 15 seconds....

    Something to think about next time cops are demonized, eh?? :D

    Michale

  24. [24] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Dear drama queen,

    "I have never stated, nor even implied that you don't have a right to post"

    LOL! I do realize that you believe that everything is about you, but that's just due to your big giant head and poor reading comprehension. I couldn't care less about your irrelevant opinions of my rights.

    "You can't make the same claim"

    Lying comes easily to chatbots like you, eh? I couldn't care less what you cut and paste to this or any other site. Your programming doesn't allow for a single original thought. Post as many Republican lies, strawmen, half-truths, slurs, talking points, and propaganda as you please. Your CW's problem, not mine.

    Just to reiterate since you're pretty dense: I don't care what you post. Knock yourself out.

  25. [25] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "You can't make the same claim"

    LOL!

    "I tolerate him for two big reasons: (1) he pays his freight . . . and (2) he saves me HOURS of research, because I don't have to troll right-wing sites . . ." - CW Saturday, July 19th, 2014 at 00:29 PDT

    "In no way do I advocate for you to not tolerate "him"." - JFC Saturday, July 19th, 2014 at 07:57 PDT

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    Just to reiterate since you're pretty dense: I don't care what you post. Knock yourself out.

    But apparently you care a great deal what Pamela Geller posts and does..

    You care a great deal about quite a few Right Wingers...

    That's the point of this discussion, your attempt to make everything about me notwithstanding... :D

    Michale

  27. [27] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    OK, to all --

    This was a tough column to write. It's always so, when absolute principles crash head-on into the reality of everyday life. I have no desire to defend Geller, and no desire to defend anything she stands for.

    Having said that, let me try to answer your comments.

    John From Censornati [1] -

    Sure, she put on a "hate-a-palooza." Sure, the cartoonists deserve recognition. But I still have to defend her right to do so, no matter how hate-filled she may be. I'm a free-speech absolutist.

    LizM [3] -

    But, just to be clear, Pamela Geller is no Charlie Hebdo.

    Defending Pamela Geller is just about defending hate speech. Defending Charlie Hebdo after the Paris attacks is about defending the freedom of expression and the principle of the separation of religion and politics, that is to say, secularism.

    I have to respectfully disagree. Defending both is defending free speech: the good, the bad, and the ugly. To divine another's motives is to mind-read, and I do not have that capability. The principle remains, though, and needs defending.

    Have you seen all the Charlie Hebdo cartoons? Take a look at them, not all of them are all that high-brow....

    [6] -

    As for level of intelligence, again, for me that falls into the realm of mind-reading.

    The First Amendment doesn't say anything about the relative intelligence of the speaker.

    [7] -

    Now here's where we can agree. I cannot equate the practice of the free speech rights of the two, but I will stand firm on the equality of the two to exercise those basic rights.

    Michale [8] -

    Hey, at least I'm consistent in my absolutism on free speech rights. I kind of thought you'd agree on that point...

    Michale [10] -

    I'd go even further, and I even bet you'll wholeheartedly agree: the ones threatening her free speech rights are the terrorists who attempted to silence her.

    John From Censornati [13] -

    I've been trying to keep a close eye on the spam filter, and have now approved all valid comments. I'm going to post this now, and refresh, so your comments will be visible. Sorry for the delay...

    More later...

    -CW

  28. [28] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    John From Censornati [13] -

    As I recall, a large part of the "Je suis Charlie Hebdo!" meme was that Charlie's cartoons should be replicated in other publications so everyone could see them. The "Je suis Pamela Geller" crowd needs to step up and publish some of her ethnic cleansing screeds.

    Oh, I heartily agree. Let people see and decide for themselves.

    Michale [15] -

    Cool your jets. It was an auto-filter problem, and the comment has been restored for all to read.

    TheStig [19] -

    Living in the United States legally obligates you to have a thick skin. It's about as settled as law gets. If this is a problem, you should move someplace else.

    Couldn't have said it better myself. Kudos!

    John M [20] -

    Oh, snap! Arguing with Michale is always more interesting when you bring the Ferengi into it... heh...

    :-)

    Michale, you'll have to provide the cite:

    "The Ferengi have taken over the ship!"

    Heh.

    -CW

  29. [29] 
    dsws wrote:

    But hate speech is also constitutionally-protected. Because -- and here's the key to understanding why -- if it were banned, who would decide?

    The courts can decide what's a threat, what's fraud, what's copyright infringement, and so on. Why wouldn't they be able to decide what's hate speech?

    --

    I'm not Pamela Gellar. But then again, I'm not Charlie Hebdo either. I don't think you need to identify with someone in order to acknowledge and defend their rights. Just as popular speech doesn't normally need to be defended, the people everyone identifies with aren't the ones whose rights need to be defended.

  30. [30] 
    Michale wrote:

    Hey, at least I'm consistent in my absolutism on free speech rights. I kind of thought you'd agree on that point...

    Yes you are... :D

    Cool your jets. It was an auto-filter problem, and the comment has been restored for all to read.

    Ahhhh... In that case, I owe JFC an apology...

    Apologies, John.... My bust...

    "The Ferengi have taken over the ship!"

    Gods, I hate the Ferengi.. As a galactic threat, they are a joke...

    So, I usually try to avoid episodes that have the Ferengi in them..

    :D

    Michale

  31. [31] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "I still have to defend her right to do so, no matter how hate-filled she may be."

    I still don't see why. Other than talking about it, how are you defending her? How does talking help her? Are jihadis deterred by talk?

    The constitution defends her. She doesn't need me to identify with or defend her.

  32. [32] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    Westboro Baptist Church has had their freedom of expression challenged and I don't remember any "I am God Hates Fags" movement. The same goes for the Klan. Do we only have to identify with the hate groups if a member of some other hate group pulls out a gun?

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    All for a pretty lame application of a noble principle.

    You mean like forcing people out of business and destroying their livelyhood in the name of Koom-Bye-Ya/Everyone Is Awesome??

    THAT is a pretty lame application of a noble principle...

    Lame and noble are in the eyes of the beholder and no one has rights to condemn one if they don't condemn others..

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    Michale wrote:

    "I still have to defend her right to do so, no matter how hate-filled she may be."

    I still don't see why.

    For the same reason many Weigantians feel they have to defend gay couples who want their 15 mins of fame and go to places where they are not wanted, just to prove some "lame" point..

    Mr Goose... meet Mr Gander..... :D

    Basically, the point ya'all seem to be conveying is that the girl who dressed up sleazy and went to bar and got rip-roaring drunk deserved whatever happened to her. That she was asking for it....

    Let's keep the villainy where it belongs, eh?

    I'm just sayin'.....

    Michale

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    Basically, I see no difference between gay couples provoking christian businesses and Geller provoking muslims...

    Well, one difference is that christian business owners don't behead the gay couples... :D

    Michale

  36. [36] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Defending both is defending free speech: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Chris, I'm not taking issue with that. I get it.

    Where you go wrong is in equating what Charlie Hebdo is doing and where that satirical publication is coming from with what Geller is all about.

    Geller and Charlie Hebdo are quite decidedly NOT the same thing and you don't have to be a mind-reader to know that.

  37. [37] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    Not all Hebdo cartoons are high brow, you say?

    So, how low do you set the bar for Geller?

    Let's compare the level of intelligence of each, shall we?

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let's forget Pamela Geller for a moment. As I said, she is willing to step up, something the Left isn't willing to do..

    But let's forget her..

    What's your take on the cartoonists themselves??

    Do they deserve to be terrorized and forced into hiding??

    Michale

  39. [39] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    John From Censornati [32] -

    Here's what I had to say about Westboro:

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2010/03/08/fred-phelps-hatemongering-and-the-first-amendment/

    It's worth reading, since it is germane to this discussion and article.

    LizM [36] -

    Oh, I do get that. CH had something important to say, a point to make. Not unlike "South Park" they skewered all with their rapier wit -- Christians, Muslims, Jews, everybody. Geller has only a message of hate.

    I understand all of that, but at the same time I think it's beside the point I was trying to make: intent does not matter when talking about rights.

    Michale [38] -

    That's an interesting point that I think got lost in all of the attention on Geller. Have the cartoonists gotten any threats? I don't know, because in everything I've read, nobody mentions the cartoonists themselves.

    -CW

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    That's an interesting point that I think got lost in all of the attention on Geller. Have the cartoonists gotten any threats? I don't know, because in everything I've read, nobody mentions the cartoonists themselves.

    Yes, the cartoonists have received threats...

    At least the winning one has...

    Apparently, the winning cartoonist IS an actual cartoonist.. With a comic book series under his belt...

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/muhammad-cartoon-contest-winner-retreats-into-hiding-1430852911

    And now he has to go into hiding because islam just can't seem to get it's arse out of the Dark Ages...

    But it's interesting that this doesn't receive more press..

    Once again, the Left Wing MSM doesn't want to offend muslims..

    Michale

  41. [41] 
    Michale wrote:

    What's the difference between Draw The Prophet contests and Gay Couples targeting christians??

    Both are "FON" exercises...

    Michale

  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Chris,

    I understand all of that, but at the same time I think it's beside the point I was trying to make: intent does not matter when talking about rights.

    I fully agree.

    I was just taking issue with the comparison I thought you were making when you said CH and Geller are doing the same thing.

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    I was just taking issue with the comparison I thought you were making when you said CH and Geller are doing the same thing.

    They ARE doing the same thing..

    Possibly for different motivations...

    But then again, probably not... I am sure it's a safe assumption that CH cartoonists did not like the people they were caricaturing..

    But it is easy to find commonality between the Editor of CH and Pamela Geller...

    Michale

    Michale

    Michale

  44. [44] 
    Michale wrote:

    From Guadalcanal to Garland: Why We Fight
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2015/05/10/from_guadalcanal_to_garland_why_we_fight_126534.html

    Pamela Geller is fighting a noble fight...

    The Left disputes that nobility because they don't like her politics...

    That's all their is to it...

    Michale

  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    The differences between CH and Geller go way beyond cartoons, Michale.

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    The differences between CH and Geller go way beyond cartoons,

    No doubt....

    For example, one's a guy and the other's a girl..

    But in the context of this discussion and their motivations, they are identical..

    Speaking truth to fanatics...

    Michale

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    Although I don't know a damn thing about them, I would imagine that I abhor Gerard Biard's ideology.. He and I would probably disagree on just about every political issue imaginable..

    But that doesn't mean I would condemn or try to mitigate his bravery and his actions vis a vis standing up to muslim terrorists and fanatics...

    Michale

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But in the context of this discussion and their motivations, they are identical..

    No, they are most decidedly not. In the context of this discussion, the only thing they have in common is that they are exercising a right that is constitutionally protected in the US and elsewhere.

    The similarity ends right there. So, once again, they are not the same, not by a long shot.

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://www.steynonline.com/6943/stay-quiet-and-youll-be-okay

    Never thought it would be Liberals who would be advocating the "don't wear the short skirt if you don't want to be raped" argument....

    Michale

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    No, they are most decidedly not. In the context of this discussion, the only thing they have in common is that they are exercising a right that is constitutionally protected in the US and elsewhere.

    The similarity ends right there. So, once again, they are not the same, not by a long shot.

    The context of this discussion **IS** the constitutionally protected right....

    Michale

  51. [51] 
    Michale wrote:

    Here's another cartoon from the Bosch Fawstin, the cartoonist who won Pamela Geller's contest...

    http://www.steynonline.com/pics/1281.jpg

    That's, pretty much, what those who oppose Geller's actions are telling us...

    Thanx, but I'll go with Pamela Geller on this issue...

    Michale

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let me put it this way...

    If Pamela Geller was holding symposiums for gay couples on how to provoke and demonize and antagonize christian business owners, the Left would be completely supportive of her actions.. There is ample evidence that completely proves that...

    As I have said.. It's not the hate that bothers the Left..

    Hate is fine.. As long as the Right people are hated...

    Michale

  53. [53] 
    John From Censornati wrote:

    "Here's what I had to say about Westboro. It's worth reading, since it is germane to this discussion and article."

    OK, Chris. I read it, but I missed the part where you say "I am Fed Phelps."

    Unless there's a movement to change the constitution, these hatemongers don't need me to defend them and I am certainly not going to identify with them. The fact that you are "defending" them on the internet will be of no practical defense to them. It will make no difference at all to people with guns. That's why we have weak laws against shooting people.

  54. [54] 
    Michale wrote:

    Unless there's a movement to change the constitution, these hatemongers don't need me to defend them and I am certainly not going to identify with them.

    No one is suggesting you 'identify' with them..

    But a person of integrity and principles would defend their rights as vigorously as they would defend the rights of people they agree with..

    "I don't agree with what you say but I will defend unto death your right to say it."

    Sound familiar??

    THAT is the point of this commentary..

    And CW is a person of principle and integrity... Hence the commentary supporting Geller's rights...

    Michale

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