Absolutely Free Speech, by John Ostrander

John Ostrander

John Ostrander started his career as a professional writer as a playwright. His best known effort, Bloody Bess, was directed by Stuart Gordon, and starred Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, William J. Norris, Meshach Taylor and Joe Mantegna. He has written some of the most important influential comic books of the past 25 years, including Batman, The Spectre, Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Suicide Squad, Wasteland, X-Men, and The Punisher, as well as Star Wars comics for Dark Horse. New episodes of his creator-owned series, GrimJack, which was first published by First Comics in the 1980s, appear every week on ComicMix.

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27 Responses

  1. Vinnie Bartilucci says:

    Freedom of speech is absolute. It is inviolate. The big thing that people often don't grasp is that freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from responsibility. You can say anything you like, but once you've said it, YOU'VE SAID IT. Especially on the Internet. Herpes is easier to get rid of than something you've posted on the Internet. If you say something that's patenly untrue, you can say it, but you have to be ready for the reprecussions.Free Speech is used like a magic wand in this country. Howard Stern rails that he can say anything he likes, yet is surprised when people use THEIR freedom of speech to say things against him. If you're in a room and you want to tell a few off-color jokes to your friends, what do you do? You look around the room and see if there's anyone that might be offended by the joke, and if not, THEN you tell it. when I was a kid that was called "courtesy". Now it's called "covering your ass". Or as Dwayne McDuffie puts it: "When I was a kid, what they now call 'PC' we just called 'Manners'."Be aware of the potential reaction of the people around you, and take responsibility for what you said once you've said it. If more people followed these fairly simple guidelines, people would probably get along better.

  2. Mike Gold says:

    Freedom of speech is indeed absolute: either you have it or you don't. People like to point to the "shouting fire in a theater" bit, but they often overlook two important facts. When Justice Holmes made the statement he was talking about both falsely shouting fire and causing a panic: both tests had to have been met.And, second, the Supreme Court overturned that ruling in 1969."Freedom of speech" has NOTHING to do with freedom from consequence. You can say whatever you want — censorship (even in the non-governmental sense of the term) refers to prior restraint.If I were to have said that the federal government is dangerous, President John Adams would have thrown me in jail. That would be wrong, and the Alien and Sedition Act was later overturned. President G.W. Bush might throw me in Gitmo (still waiting for that to be overturned), but there were no consequences to my utterance other than the vague and undefinable "giving comfort to 'the' enemy" bullshit. But the threat of Gitmo induces prior restraint nonetheless.But if you falsely shout fire in a theater and cause a panic and I get hurt, I can (and will) sue you for the consequences of your malicious action, assuming I can prove both malice and damage. There's a difference between speaking out against Iraq War II and sending a box of cluster bombs to Al Qaeda: only the former is protected free speech.As is worshipping in the Moslem faith.

  3. Paul Wargelin says:

    I was just discussing internet message boards with a friend yesterday. What always amuses me about those who frequently comment on superhero comics (under "alter-egos") is how much they admire the deceny and selflessness their favorites heroes represent, yet demonstrate none of these qualities the moment someone posts a divergent opinion, believing it's perfectly acceptable to disagree with belligerent and insulting personal attacks.But it's easy when you're hiding behind a user name and justifying your behavior as an entitlement.

  4. John Ostrander says:

    As I re-read the First Amendment, I'm struck by what draws all the disparate elements together. WHY are they all in the same paragraph? I think it comes down to "Freedom of Expression" — whether it be in a church, in speech, in printed matter, or in groups. I'm not always nuts about people trying to parse the Founders' INTENT — that often smacks of time-travel combined with mindreading, IMO — but it seems to me that the THEME of the paragraph is the Founders' intent.i'm also still arguing with myself about ANONYMITY. Yes, I believe in standing by my words BUT is respecting a person's anonymity not only enabling to trolls but also to whistleblowers? Are the trolls the price we have to pay in order to the whistleblowers — who I DO generally regard as a plus? Maybe. Tricky stuff, this freedom.

  5. Russ Rogers says:

    Let's add a couple of other points into the mix. Freedom of Speech is guaranteed by the government. In this way, the government is constrained from infringing on the rights of individuals to say what they want. This means everyone has a right to their own opinion. This does not mean that everyone's opinion is equally valid. There are not two sides to every issue and every news organization does not have to give equal weight to opposing opinions. At this point there is a HUGE statistical correlation between smoking and diseases like cancer, emphysema or heart disease. The media doesn't need to give any more equal time to those few throwbacks who claim there is no scientific evidence that smoking is unrelated to poor health. I think the scales have tipped in the same way on the issue of Global Warming. Scientists can debate and disagree about what the effects and prognosis for Global Warming are, but we are beyond the point of giving equal time to those people who say that this could just be a natural shift in weather patterns.I'm not saying that you aren't allowed to be stupid. You can believe what you want to believe. I just don't think it's censorship if the media chooses to ignore you.I have a growing list of people the media ought to ignore. Mass Murderers are HIGH on my list. I'm sick to death of interviews with Charles Manson. What does Charles Manson have to do to prove that his opinions about much of anything DON'T MATTER! What does society gain by giving him any kind of platform to spew from! This includes jail house interviews.Ann Coulter has said so many incendiary things. I'm SO bored with her schtick. She's like Rush Limbaugh in a mini-skirt. Sure, her legs are better than Rush's, but should that give her a regular platform in the public discussion?A blogger on the DailyKos.com posted the contact information for dozens of companies that advertised on AnnCoulter's website. He said:"One of the best ways to communicate one's distaste for Coulter's repeated incidents of hate speech is to respectfully but firmly let her advertisers know you are deeply troubled by their indirect support of bigotry through their advertising on Coulter's Web site."http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/03/05/coulter.ad…Now, the question arises, "Is Ann Coulter being CENSORED when people call for pressure on companies that advertise with her?" I don't think so. As long as the Government doesn't have a role in pressuring the companies, this falls into the category of free speech for the opposing view.I don't believe in Government sponsored "BLACK LISTS." That doesn't mean I don't have my own GRAY LIST of people I just don't want to hear from any more, a list that makes me at least stand up and change the channel.

    • Alan Coil says:

      Ann Coulter's legs…….

    • Mike Gold says:

      Some jail house interviews are of interest. It's not the convict's right to freedom of expression — that has been mitigated by conviction and, therefore, denial of certain rights. But such interviews can be informative, if (big if) conducted properly.Is Coulter being censored by being on the receiving end of boycott threats? Well, taking the term outside of the traditional government borders, yes, I think so IF the intent in doing so is to shut her up. She has a right to say what she wants to say and I have the right to ignore her like I would an STD-ridden crack whore (I hope she appreciates my support). Putting pressure on somebody goes against freedom of expression. However, not patronizing her (by going to her website, buying her "books," buying newspapers that carry her column, etc.) is perfectly valid. If enough people feel the way I do, she won't get book and syndication contracts or advertising support and she'll fade like the second Bionic Woman. Denial of freedom of expression, bad. Failure to perform in the marketplace, good. By the way, have you ever SEEN Rush's legs?

      • Russ Rogers says:

        Rush's legs? Full of varicose veins and cellulite, literally up the wazoo. I know, it's not a pleasant image to reflect on or a pleasant reflection to imagine. In my case, I have to imagine; I have not seen. Whew. My problems with Rush don't stem from his legs, I think he's more of a bombastic hypocrite. But that's another story.There are certain laws that mitigate the freedom of expression of convicts. Many states forbid convicted felons from voting. There are "Son of Sam" laws that prevent certain criminals from profiting from selling their story. These laws can be problematic, but I don't see anything overtly unconstitutional about them.There are many things the media seems to give too much attention. Britney Spears paparazzi-fueled, train-wreck of a personal life is one. Ann Coulter is another. Perfect for a culture that wants their news and commentary on the crassest, personality-driven, least informative level.There is a big difference between fame and infamy. And there is a big difference between being notorious and being noteworthy. I think Ann Coulter is far more notorious for her opinions than noteworthy.Several of the sponsors who pulled support from Coulter's site claimed that they didn't know they were sponsoring her in the first place. The ads had been placed there by third party agents. Sponsors should, to a certain extent, be held accountable for the ideas they endorse. And sometimes sponsors need to be reminded of what they are endorsing.Nothing is going to shut up Ann Coulter. And promoting boycotts or labeling is a double-edged sword. How many would remember Two Live Crew today if not for the attempts to label them and censor them? Sometimes nothing is better publicity than getting "Banned in Boston."I have to realize that my railing against Ann Coulter is, in some twisted way, promoting her, keeping the spotlight on her and her shallow arguments. Like Wilde said, “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.” Oh well.If you read a newspaper that features Ann Coulter's column and you decide you are tired of her writing (for whatever reasons), it's perfectly justifiable for you to write to the newspaper and say, "Could you please carry some other columnist and stop wasting paper on Ann Coulter?" Is that denial of freedom of expression or failure to perform in the marketplace?ComicMix recently published two stories about the same South Korean comic book. The book contained several racist and Antisemitic passages. In one article, the South Korean publisher met with a Rabbi from the Simon Weisenthal Center. In the other, the U.S. State Department had a special envoy in charge of keeping tabs on Antisemitism.https://www.comicmix.com/news/2007/03/15/south-korhttps://www.comicmix.com/news/2008/03/17/south-kor…I found the first article (about the Simon Wiesenthal Center) an entirely appropriate and uplifting response to a bad situation. It showed that reaching out in understanding was a better method for dealing with racist untruths than trying to stage pickets, boycotts, petitions or other protests.I found the second article (about the Special Envoy to the U.S. State Department on Antisemitism) a little troubling, in part because it smacked of government intervention in free speech.

        • Mike Gold says:

          "There are many things the media seems to give too much attention. Britney Spears paparazzi-fueled, train-wreck of a personal life is one. Ann Coulter is another. Perfect for a culture that wants their news and commentary on the crassest, personality-driven, least informative level." The media are complete whores. They would give Adolf Hitler his own show (and maybe they have) if their research said enough people would listen to it (and maybe they would). The evils of the free market; the evils of democracy. Majority rules when they vote with their pocketbook. Or, to quote the late, sainted Mike Royko, their credit cards."If you read a newspaper that features Ann Coulter's column and you decide you are tired of her writing (for whatever reasons), it's perfectly justifiable for you to write to the newspaper and say, "Could you please carry some other columnist and stop wasting paper on Ann Coulter?" Is that denial of freedom of expression or failure to perform in the marketplace?"That's a good point. I think that's certainly a legitimate first response. There are hundreds of features in your average newspaper over the course of a week, and dropping the paper penalizes all of them for Annie's actions.

        • John Tebbel says:

          A government speaking out against hate speech is not a government intervention into free speech.

          • Russ Rogers says:

            Depends on how it's done. It's easy to protect speech that is inoffensive. The true test of free speech is how well the Government protects the speech that it finds repugnant. I'm not sure what role the government should take in speaking out against (or otherwise suppressing) hate speech. That's our job, isn't it?

          • John Tebbel says:

            A lawyer would laugh at our thread like we laugh at Slip Mahoney’s mangling of the English language with the Bowery Boys.For example: “It's easy to protect speech that is inoffensive.”The government isn’t charged with “protecting” free speech. They just “may make no laws” on the subject. They have to stay out of it.Does this prevent the government from making a report on hate speech around the world? Of course not. Could they pass a law banning this creepy hate comic? Of course not. “I'm not sure what role the government should take in speaking out against (or otherwise suppressing) hate speech.”It sure seems like you’re sure. And there is no connection with speaking out against something and suppressing something. Writing a report about how bad something is is not the same as sending the government bully boys to trash the presses/cameras/inventory. Nothing in the first amendment gags any part of the government from speaking in favor or in opposition to anything, including communism, seat belts, ethanol or vegetarianism. They can and do speak volumes every single day. Is our president suppressed when his political opponents speak out against him on the government payroll day in and day out. It is to laugh.

          • Mike Gold says:

            "Does this prevent the government from making a report on hate speech around the world? Of course not. Could they pass a law banning this creepy hate comic? Of course not."Actually, back in the mid-1950s several states passed laws prohibiting the sale of comic books that didn't carry the Code seal. I'm not sure how closely this was enforced, but Dell — which was a member of the Association but did not submit its books to the CCA — redoubled their subscription efforts, propelling titles like Disney's Comics and Stories even higher. Government-sponsored "peer group pressure" is far more effective. For example, it's been almost impossible to locate a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook over, say, the past six and one-half years… and if you do, you know some book seller's gonna rat you out to the DHS.

          • John Tebbel says:

            Actually, back in the mid-1950s several states passed laws prohibiting the sale of comic books that didn't carry the Code seal.[All unconstitutional, happens all the time. The publishers didn’t call a lawyer, they hired a big time PR agency.]I'm not sure how closely this was enforced.[Not much. Local distributors got their comics in bundles from different distributors. If Donald Duck was on the top you got on the trucks, if not, they weren’t even unbundled before they were returned to the national distributors. And Archie wasn’t a duck so he got returned, too.], but Dell — which was a member of the Association but did not submit its books to the CCA.[Dell, at the beginning, was not in the CMAA, which was solely a censorship shop. They did testify at Judge Kefauvers Kangaroo Kort. Something about how their books were all great for kids of all ages, always had been.]– redoubled their subscription efforts, propelling titles like Disney's Comics and Stories even higher.[That was a great title, that rare thing in children’s literature where the creators don’t pay any attention to the supposed limitations of their supposed audience and just did great work. Did Dell take advantage of their “clean skirts” strategy? Oh, yeah.]Government-sponsored "peer group pressure" is far more effective. [Only when the publishers are cowards. The movie people somehow fought back and American movies became the commercial and artistic envy of the species while our comics remained a lobotomized laughingstock. Holy Naked Zombies!]For example, it's been almost impossible to locate a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook over, say, the past six and one-half years… and if you do, you know some book seller's gonna rat you out to the DHS.[But the information is all available and the publishers weren’t jailed. My dad happened to be the B. Dalton exec who turned down Anarchist's Cookbook (for which he took much sh*t from me). Otherwise he heard from no one, before or after. It just wasn't in the store in the mall, you had to buy it where you got your black light posters and microbrew candles. Free decisions by bookstores is part of the system. And B.Dalton store managers were empowered to stock whatever they thought their markets would want that wasn't coming from headquarters.]

          • Mike Gold says:

            "Only when the publishers are cowards."I'm pretty close to that position. I think most publishers are just frightened little children, afraid they'll blow their multi-million dollar phony baloney jobs on the next Trump biography (well, I had a book with a publisher who did just that, so…)Lyle Stuart being the most notable exception.

          • Russ Rogers says:

            I do think our public schools have an obligation to teach our children about hate and hate speech. I think our public schools should teach children to avoid hate speech and yes, combat hate speech. I think this promotes a civil and moral society. I think it's part of learning to be a good citizen. You are right, most lawyers (probably most people in general) would giggle over a bunch of comics geeks (Is "Geeks" hate speech?) debating, ranting and parsing out the meanings and implications of the First Amendment and "Freedom of Speech."And yes, the government has a perfect right to monitor and report on hate speech. But there should be limits.Let's say the government creates a report on Suspected Supporters of Extremist Muslim Terrorism. The FBI and CIA probably have many of those lists. Should the government publish that list? Once the government publishes that list, can we assume that anyone who works with or associates themselves closely with a Supporter of Extremist Muslim Terrorism might likely ALSO BE a Supporter of Terrorism? Should the Senate hold hearings asking the people who are on the list to recant their support of terrorism and name other people who are likely to be supporters of terrorism?I am clumsily trying to draw a parallel between this hypothetical government agenda against Terrorism and the Anti-Communist McCarthyism of the 50s.Did the Government infringe on the rights of individuals by creating a "Blacklist" of known Communist Sympathizers? They were just creating a list and informing the public. McCarthyism and the Anti-Communist Blacklists are considered to be a stain on American History, right up there with the Japanese Internment Camps of WWII. It was a witch hunt. Blacklists infringed on the rights of free speech and the rights of due process. People were tried and convicted of holding political views (something that is not a crime) without the benefit of a trial. They were publicly chastised and vilified, put in a situation where they could not earn a living as they once had.Individual politicians have a right to express their views. But elected officials should be careful not to confuse the public between what is their opinion and Official Government Policy.Let's compare the Dixie Chicks and Ann Coulter. The Dixie Chicks were publicly shunned, censored and essentially blacklisted from Country Radio for an incident where their lead singer expressed her criticism of the War in Iraq and President Bush on stage, during a concert in England. Former fans were encouraged to bring their Dixie Chicks CDs to be crushed by a bulldozer. (I would call this the equivalent of a book burning party.) Radio DJs were fired for playing their music. The singers received death threats.Do I think this was fair? No. I think this was an injustice. I think the Dixie Chick's rights to expression were grossly violated.President Bush voiced his "support" for the Dixie Chicks this way: "The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say … they shouldn't have their feelings hurt just because some people don't want to buy their records when they speak out … Freedom is a two-way street … I don't really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that's fine. That's the great thing about America. It stands in stark contrast to Iraq…""Freedom is a two-way street …", not a resounding rebuke of the people blacklisting the Dixie Chicks, bulldozing their CDs or sending them death threats.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dixie_chicks#Politic…Part of the reason I feel this was grossly unfair to the Dixie Chicks was because their political views were not (at least not at the time) the central focus of their music. Why should a song that was in a radio station's play list be taken off that play list for something totally unrelated to the music?Now, Ann Coulter. I have called for Coulter's presence before the mass media to be severely limited in light of what I consider a history of incendiary, off-color remarks. For example, her calling John Edwards a "faggot" and then unapologetically insisting that she wasn't using homophobic hate-speech, she was just using a school yard taunt similar to calling someone a "wuss." Now, I think it's totally fair to call her out for this and to say that the media ought to reconsider paying attention to her and financially supporting her by giving her a forum to publicize her books, columns and web site. Why is this fair? Because Coulter's commentary and views are CENTRAL to her "artistic" expression. I not only disagree with her views, more to the point, I disagree with the crass way she presents them.That said, I would be the FIRST in line defending Ann Coulter if it came down to death threats or public book burnings. Although I think the media should pay less attention to Ann Coulter, it would be a GROSS injustice if a news anchor were fired for conducting an interview with her.There is a time when Freedom is a two way street. And there is a time to take a stand and say, "We as Americans believe in the freedom of expression. It's barbaric to allow death threats to try and suppress that freedom. Witch hunts and public book burnings fuel an Un-American atmosphere of hate and intolerance."

          • Mike Gold says:

            "Did the Government infringe on the rights of individuals by creating a "Blacklist" of known Communist Sympathizers? They were just creating a list and informing the public."I don't believe the government created a blacklist. Tailgunner Joe kept on waving one around, but nobody saw it and the number of names kept on changing.Red Channels — the famed blacklist — was published in 1950 by American Business Consultants, which was a company founded by Commie-hating former FBI agents who turned their years of "experience" into a profit-making scheme to "advise" businesses on whom not to hire. You know, like if your grandmother had been to a pro-socialist demonstration you shouldn't be hired by CBS — and you would be Lucille Ball, the famous red…head.Famous threats to America noted in Red Channels included Leonard Bernstein, Lee J. Cobb, Howard Da Silva, Howard Duff, José Ferrer, John Garfield, Will Geer, Jack Gilford, Dashiell Hammett, E. Y. "Yip" Harburg, Nat Hiken (Sgt. Bilko creator), Judy Holliday, Lena Horne, Langston Hughes, Burl Ives, Gypsy Rose Lee, Burgess Meredith, Arthur Miller, Henry Morgan, Zero Mostel, Edward G. Robinson, Artie Shaw, and Orson Welles.Remember that the next time you're waiting in line at the airport.

          • John Tebbel says:

            Has anyone else noticed that if you reply to a reply to a reply etcetera the result begins to resemble the Mouse's Tale in Alice in Wonderland?

          • Russ Rogers says:

            Tailgunner Jo! I LOVED that comic! Very cool. DC, 1988, way ahead of it's time.

    • Rick Oliver says:

      Protection of wildly controversial and blatantly biased speech was exactly what the founders had in mind when they wrote the first amendment. Newspapers of the days did not even pretend to be be "unbiased". And if you didn't like what someone said in print, you could always challenge him to a duel…although that didn't work out so well for Alexander Hamilton.

  6. Sean Meiers says:

    There is another side of the Freedom of Speech issue that has not been addressed here. While the government has to let you say what you will (given the parameters of what has been discussed) it does not mean that the government has to provide a venue for you to say it. What I frequently hear from people is that they have to be given a forum to express their views. No, they don't; they just cannot be arrested and jailed for what they say. It is up to them to find an outlet for their views to be expressed.

    • Mike Gold says:

      Nor does private enterprise. Anybody with access to a library can have a website; you're not guaranteed your own show on teevee.

  7. Luigi Novi says:

    Excellent piece, John. It pretty much sums up my feelings on free speech, and on that Juicy site. It should not be banned, but its participants' identities should be tracked in case of a libel suit–in which case the given identity of a defendant should be revealed only with a proper subpoena/just cause.What's interesting about this is that back in October Peter David, made a blog entry (http://peterdavid.malibulist.com/archives/005767….) whose ensuing thread evolved into a discussion of free speech, in which he referred to himself as a "free speech absolutist" (in his October 27, 2007 10:30am post). I wrote to say that I was not a free speech "absolutist", because I felt that, as you say, John, free speech–and for that matter any principle–is a provisional, or general principle, and not absolute, and that in general, very few things in life were "absolute". At the same time, however, I sought to understand (in BaruchSpinoza-like fashion) what Peter meant by his use of that term to describe his viewpoint on speech, because it seemed to me that his view and mine on free speech were identical, and that we merely were using different labels, as it were. He became angry at me because I didn't quite understand or agree with his explanation, which was that the activities rightfully not protected by the First Amendment did not constitute "exceptions" or "limits" to it (which would contradict a "absolute" interpretation of it), but abuse of free speech), and that laws passed by Congress that allow citizens to sue other citizens for things like libel or slander do not constitute making those things illegal because they do not provide prior restraint on that act. He argued that the word "abridgment", when using the analogy of publication, for example, refers only to the cutting out of something prior, to publication, and that laws against libel and slander are not exceptions are not exceptions to the F.A. because they are part of common law that were grandfathered into the Constitution, thus predating the F.A. I do not agree, because "absolute" and "exception" do not require these circumstances, nor does "abridgement"–a good example of that latter that does indeed occur after publication would be the Reader's Digest condensed version of John Grisham's The Chamber, which I'm pretty sure came out after the original, unabridged novel.There were a number of other things said, which I believed a were a bit more personal than they should've been, but I just thought it interesting that you essentially expressed pretty much what my thoughts on the issue are.

  8. Luigi Novi says:

    Excellent piece, John. It pretty much sums up my feelings on free speech, and on that Juicy site. It should not be banned, but its participants' identities should be tracked in case of a libel suit–in which case the given identity of a defendant should be revealed only with a proper subpoena/just cause.What's interesting about this is that back in October Peter David, made a blog entry (http://peterdavid.malibulist.com/archives/005767….) whose ensuing thread evolved into a discussion of free speech, in which he referred to himself as a "free speech absolutist" (in his October 27, 2007 10:30am post). I wrote to say that I was not a free speech "absolutist", because I felt that, as you say, John, free speech–and for that matter any principle–is a provisional, or general principle, and not absolute, and that in general, very few things in life were "absolute". At the same time, however, I sought to understand (in BaruchSpinoza-like fashion) what Peter meant by his use of that term to describe his viewpoint on speech, because it seemed to me that his view and mine on free speech were identical, and that we merely were using different labels, as it were. He became angry at me because I didn't quite understand or agree with his explanation, which was that the activities rightfully not protected by the First Amendment did not constitute "exceptions" or "limits" to it (which would contradict a "absolute" interpretation of it), but abuse of free speech, and that laws passed by Congress that allow citizens to sue other citizens for things like libel or slander do not constitute making those things illegal because they do not provide prior restraint on that act. He argued that the word "abridgment", when using the analogy of publication, for example, refers only to the cutting out of something prior, to publication, and that laws against libel and slander are not exceptions are not exceptions to the F.A. because they are part of common law that were grandfathered into the Constitution, thus predating the F.A. I do not agree, because "absolute" and "exception" do not require these circumstances, nor does "abridgement"–a good example of the latter that does indeed occur after publication would be the Reader's Digest condensed version of John Grisham's The Chamber that I read, which I'm pretty sure came out after the original, unabridged novel.There were a number of other things said, which I believed a were a bit more personal than they should've been, but I just thought it interesting that you essentially expressed pretty much what my thoughts on the issue are.

  9. Russ Rogers says:

    Luigi, thanks for the link to the Peter David blog and the thread that related to "Free Speech.' It was enlightening. I had never heard of disenvowelment before. It's a funny pun and interesting to see in practice. (Remind me not to get on Glen Hauman's bad side.) The Dan Taylor drama caught me by suprise.I think PAD got cranky because you seemed to be spitting hairs over semantics. The "debate" with you and Mike degenerated into a series of quotes and requotes, trying to lay out PROOF of some hypocrisy or misstatement. It seemed like an obsessive need to be right. And in the end it was pointless and boring. I ended up skimming much of it. Neither you, nor Mike, were willing to move on from a subject, long after it had been discussed, debated and driven into the ground.(Hey, I've been guilty of that, right here on Comicmix! –grins–)Peter David describes himself as an absolute supporter of the First Amendment, but then you seemed to believe his is more of a general support. What difference does it make what he calls himself? Peter David isn't sitting on the Supreme Court or writing any law reviews.If Barack Obama describes himself as Black, it would be pointless and rude for me to say he is wrong and try to insist that he is instead Mulatto, just because his mother was white. Although technically I might be right, in spirit I'm dead wrong. It's a man's right to define himself however he wants, even if at times that may seem contradictory. And, in the end, arguing overly about those definitions really isn't edifying, it can just get annoying.I call myself a Christian, and yet, there would be some who would say that I was misusing the term, because I also believe in Evolution. I don't see the minor contradictions in my beliefs all that problematic. But I would argue with (and might feel insulted by) someone who tried to dismiss me as just a "General Christian," trying to point out how my beliefs differed from "Absolute Christians."

  10. Mike Gold says:

    "Remind me not to get on Glenn Hauman's bad side." It's a lot like his good side. Just a bit more petulant.Then your credit history gets zeroed out and you cease to exist in anybody's computer.

  11. Luigi Novi says:

    I agree, Russ, it was largely a matter of labeling, and rather than trying to be "right", I was also trying to understand why he felt that the word "absolute" was appropriate. I was not interested in accusing him of hypocrisy or anything, though I do think he was a bit nastier towards me than was warranted by anything I said. In any case, to each his own.