Some jackass kid lights himself on fire because he saw someone else do it on MTV. Never mind the guy on TV was wearing a flame retardant suit. Never mind there were other guys standing a few feet away from the cameras with fire extinguishers, ready to put the Human Flame out after a few seconds. Never mind the TV show has numerous warnings throughout its airing urging these jackasses not to do what they are about to see. This jackass does it anyway.
Did we point fingers at this little moron? No, he’s too young to know what he’s doing.
Did we ask where his parents were when all of this is going on? No, parents can’t always be watching their kids. And kids need room to grow anyway.
Did we ask where he was able to get the items he needed to light himself on fire, or why there were so readily available? That’s beside the point.
It’s obviously MTV’s fault for showing him this disturbing image in the first place.
Back in February, another kid (who I will call “Dipshit”) went to the movies in Connecticut. Dipshit bought a ticket to see one movie, then snuck in to watch the “horror” film Valentine. After the movie, Dipshit got into an altercation in the lobby with someone he goes to school with, someone he may have even been very good friends with. They were fighting about a girl they both liked. Long story short, Dipshit pulled a large kitchen knife out of his jacket and stabbed the other boy to death.
Did we point fingers at Dipshitr No, he’s too young to know what he’s doing.
Did we ask where his parents were when all of this is going onr No, parents can’t always be watching their kids. And kids need room to grow anyway.
Did we ask what the fuck an ELEVEN YEAR OLD is doing walking around in public with a large kitchen knife in the first placer That’s beside the point.
It’s obviously Warner Brothers’ fault for making this disturbing movie in the first place.
Faithful readers of this site have seen me rail on about Joe Lieberman and other elected officials in Washington wasting time and taxpayer money coming up with unnecessary and potentially unconstitutional proposals to force entertainment companies to curtail their activities into more socially “acceptable” manners.
Jack Valenti is also sick and tired of hearing this rhetoric coming out of Washington, too, and he’s speaking out against those who would tell us what we can and can’t think.
The following is an open letter Valenti has published concerning the current issues of free speech before us:
It’s puzzling why Senators Joe Lieberman and Hillary Clinton — both superbly educated as high-competency lawyers and dedicated to public service — have proposed legislation that treats so casually, so indifferently, the one clause in the Constitution that guarantees all others in the greatest of documents ever struck off by the hand and brain of Man.
That clause is called the First Amendment. The exquisite simplicity of its 45 words begins with this unambiguous statement: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….” It doesn’t say “perhaps” or “maybe” or “it depends on the circumstances.” It says “no law,” which is about as plain as the mother tongue can make it.
This means the government cannot intrude in any creative material protected by the First Amendment. To every man and woman in the creative arts, the freedom from that fear is what builds the rostrum from which springs America’s creative worth.
Equally puzzling is that the bill offered by Lieberman and Clinton would infect fatally the voluntary movie rating system. This bill would empower a government regulatory agency to determine if a movie producer has marketed an “adult rated” film in any venue where there are a “substantial” (undefined) number of children watching or reading. Mind you, these “adult rated” movies were voluntarily rated by movie producers. If the Federal Trade Commission concludes, by whatever standard it chooses to apply, that the producer did indeed violate the rules of the FTC, the producer may be fined $11,000 per day per violation for a so-called “deceptive trade practice.”
Further, it states that the FTC will offer a “safe harbor,” that is, immunize the producer against punishment, if the producer will follow, explicitly to the letter, a rating system and marketing guidelines designed by the FTC. To put it bluntly, the government for the first time will become the monitor, the arbiter and the policeman of the marketing of creative material, with the power to punish producers.
Consider the subtle irony here. Those producers who voluntarily offer ratings with advance information about films so that parents can better guide their children’s movie viewing will be inviting indictment and punishment by the government. Those producers who do not participate in any voluntary rating are granted immunity from punishment. Why would any producer/distributor continue to rate movies if the company would be in the crosshairs of the FTC monitors, facing huge fines for inadvertent mistakes (as the FTC would define them)r
Is that supposed to make parents feel betterr Do parents truly want the government to make movie-rating decisions for themr Do parents think any government is wise enough to tell them how to raise their children because the government believes parents don’t have sense enough to make their own decisions about their children’s conductr
Why, then, is this legislation being proposedr Why does the bill ignore the latest FTC Report, issued in April, which commended the movie industry in 17 separate citations for making visible improvement in marketing practicesr Why does the bill turn a blind eye toward the FTC Report’s clear and readily absorbed statementr
Because of First Amendment issues, the FTC continues to believe vigilant self-regulation is the best approach to ensuring that parents are provided with adequate information.
The FTC understands, even if some members of Congress do not, that while the government can require “labeling” of cereal boxes and cigarettes, both unprotected by the First Amendment, it cannot require “labeling” of movies or any other creative works.
Why do the bill’s authors pay no attention to a national poll by the Opinion Research Corp. that reveals some 81% of parents with children under 13 find the current rating system “very useful” to “fairly useful” in movie guidance for their youngstersr Why does the bill turn away from the FTC’s own independent survey that reported 80% of parents were “satisfied” with the current rating systemr
Finally, why cannot this bill get it straight, that if you threaten heavy fines on those distributors who voluntarily rate their movies for the benefit of parents, and absolve from any punishment those producers who do not rate their movies, why on earth would sane distributors continue to voluntarily rate their filmsr Whyr
It’s simple, Mr. Valenti… sane people already know Senators Lieberman and Clinton are both major hypocrites. Rational free thinkers saw Lieberman continue to run for reelection of his senatorial seat while he was campaigning as Gore’s assmonkey. Those who pay attention to anything outside of their own sanitized for their protection world know Hillary Clinton is just the latest in a long line of carpetbaggers and scalawags to hornswoggle their way into power.
Lieberman and Clinton don’t give a crap about you and me. They don’t want those with principles. They are trying to keep their names in the news for future endeavors. At least one of them has their eyes on the Big Prize. The White House. Even if she only left the place five months ago. And the best way to keep yourself newsworthy is to play on the fears of those who react first instead of think.
They will not listen to you, Jack. They will not listen to me. They will ignore us because we are what they fear most of all… rational thought. We didn’t see a rash of kids running out and suckling cow teats when Tom Green started doing it. But then, that’s not only disgusting but rather boring news wise and a stupid move even for a total moron to pull.
I almost wonder what would happen to John Hinckley had the political climate of today was the norm twenty years ago…
Hinckley: “I shot President Reagan to impress Jodie Foster.”
Judge: “Oh. Well… in that case… Bailiff, bring me the head of Martin Scorsese!”
Or what Mark Chapman’s trial would be like…
Chapman: “I shot John Lennon because I read ‘The Catcher In The Rye’”.
Judge: “’The Catcher In The Rye’r Who wrote thatr”
Chapman: “J.D. Salinger.”
Judge: “Bailiff. Find me this Salinger fellow.”
Bailiff: “Sir, he has been in hiding for over 20 years now.”
Judge: “No wonder. I would hide too if I wrote the kind of filth that drives a man to kill another. Find him anyway.”
Think I am being a bit rashr A tad over-rationalr Let me remind you of a passage I once read, about what happened in another society that allowed its elected officials to make up their own rules sixty years ago:
First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.