Comments

I’ve turned off and closed comments on this blog. It occurred to me the other day that with the multitude of social outlets online–Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, not to mention email and instant messaging–having comments on this blog isn’t really necessary and doesn’t generally add anything to the blog. If you want to give me feedback on something I’ve posted, you can do it elsewhere (and people usually do, more so than here). Otherwise, I’m just going to post what I post, without wondering what people will say about it or how it will be received.

Playing the Free Speech Card

DC Comics has hired SF author Orson Scott Card to write a Superman digital comic. This has launched a lot of vocal protest and sparked petitions for DC to not employ Card. I’ve signed a petition and have spoken out against Card online. Why? It’s not for his views on homosexuality, abhorrent as I may find them. It’s that Card is on the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, an organization that actively works to deny equal civil rights to homosexuals. I have friends and family members who are LGBT, so NOM’s actions have a direct impact on the lives of people I care about. Card is very open about his views and his activities, so as far as I’m concerned, if DC hires him, they’re complicit in Card’s work against equal civil rights for LGBT people.

You may disagree with me. That’s fine. But in the arguments I’ve seen defending DC and Card, I’ve seen some misconceptions, so let’s get a few things straight.

The US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. Absolutely. It does not, however, guarantee you a microphone and it doesn’t guarantee you freedom from the consequences of your speech. (In fact, certain kinds of speech are illegal precisely because of their effects. You can’t lie in advertisements. You can’t commit libel or slander.) Asking for DC Comics to not hire Card is not censorship. Neither is petitioning advertisers to pull their support of people like Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck. If the government were to silence Card (or Limbaugh or Beck), that would be censorship. But the First Amendment in no way guarantees Card be paid for what he writes, what he says, or what he does. DC–or any other business–has every right to not hire Card for his views or his actions. (Similarly, neither Rush Limbaugh nor Glenn Beck are in any way guaranteed a voice in popular media. If no one would hire them because of the things they say, that would be their tough luck. That’s not censorship, that’s a free market.)

This does not mean I advocate every company firing anyone who espouses an unpopular view. It’s not so sweeping as that. This is an individual case, and as I said, it’s not about what Card thinks or says, it’s about what he actually does. I would no more support DC hiring someone who was well-known for being active in fighting equal rights for women or people of color.

I will defend Card’s right to speak his mind with every fiber of my being. But I will not support his right to speak his mind without consequence and I will fight against him writing a character I believe embodies and supports the opposite of Card’s views. The character of Superman was created as someone who fights against oppression, bigotry, exploitation, inequality, and injustice. I expect DC Comics to live up to that, and I believe hiring Orson Scott Card goes against that legacy.

 

Breaking

A couple of key points:

1) When I was in pre-school, I was over at my best friend’s house one day. We were running around outside, and he stepped on a large piece of broken glass. While barefoot. He let out a piercing scream, and our parents rushed him to the hospital. His scream and the sight of the glass he’d stepped on have stuck with me to this day.

2) If I don’t eat regularly throughout the day, I get shaky and emotionally unstable (well, more so).

I had a lazy morning this morning, then ran out to the grocery store to get some food. I started preparing tonight’s dinner–pot roast in the crock pot–when I saw I was getting shaky. I looked at the clock and realized I’d forgotten to eat lunch. I got some food out of the fridge and planned to heat it up and eat it as soon as the pot roast was all set up to cook.

And then the top of the crock pot fell off of the counter and hit the floor with a crash. Broken glass was everywhere. Brooke was in the shower and in no condition to help. I immediately went into crisis management mode, ushering the dog out into the back yard and running through the house to find our broom and dustpan. But I couldn’t find the broom, which is when the panic attack started. I finally found the broom and did the best I could to sweep up all the glass, all the while hyperventilating and fighting the urge to just collapse and cry like a little boy, terrified of stepping on a piece of glass and having it embed itself in my foot.

I’ve now taken a Xanax, eaten some food, drunk some water, and gotten myself to take slow, deep breaths. I’m calming down. But boy, was that not fun!