Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Muckroom Follies 2.5.08--Devil in the Details

Ah, Dear Gentle Reader(s), One of life's verities is "Remember to read the small print."

Take the Townhall's Muckroom today (Please!). In the email distribution, there is this intriguing title/subtitle: "Stuart Epperson: The Law of Unintended Consequences: Well meaning efforts to target indecency could come back to haunt us."

How could a progressive argue against that? Long have progressives argued against overreaching legislation aimed at protecting the defenseless but having the effect of impinging on adult discourse.

So, with an eye to sharing with you a pebble of sanity in the muckroom, your correspondent eagerly engaged the link. Ah, the admixture of strong agreement and profound disappointment.

First, the agreement: Epperson, Chairman of the Board of Salem Communications [from their web site: Salem is a leading U.S. radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, and magazine and book publisher targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content and conservative values], concludes his column (actually, a transcript of his "testimony to the Senate Commerce committee on the FCC's involvement in regulating decency" on January 19, 2006, with Is it over reaching to request simple adherence to the First Amendment? “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.”
Notwithstanding over two hundred years of highly emotional, contentious and often offensive speech, aggressive legislative action and widely diverse court rulings, “no law” still means “no law”!

Absolutely!!! Wise words, Epperson. Wise words.

If only they hadn't been preceded by the usual appeals to Christianist moral failings. To wit: two citations which leaped out during a quick perusal: 1) Of course the homosexual lobby would mobilize hundreds, perhaps thousands, of complaints against stations advocating our point of view; 2) Black activists could organize to shut down stations opposing affirmative action. Hispanic activists could organize to shut down stations supporting immigration reform.

Ah, DGR(s), your correspondent came to cheer Epperson, but found cause to jeer as well.

And "Salem," too leaps to mind. The name of a town in which occurred one of the most egregious examples of the Christianist extremist mind set in American history has been appropriated, surely unintended, to be the name of a contemporary example of the Christianist extremist mind set. Not to mention (That's a rather strange phrase, isn't it? Surely the intent is exactly the opposite of what it states?) the fact that Salem Communications owns Townhall.com. To quote from Arthur Miller's The Crucible, "There are wheels within wheels" in our little world.

Before we take anyone's point of view, Dear Gentle Reader(s), it is incumbent upon us to Trust, but Verify.


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