Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Speech: The Thinnest of Lines

I don't know anything.
This is often my thought when advising or opining on any issue greater than myself. 
I just try to make my next question, better than my last one. 

So... here's the question:

Freedom of speech?
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?
That's the whole question. 
And now, some context.

Dominic Dieter, host of the morning radio show on WMMS 100.7, recently received a letter written by a father who was "concerned" about his daughter's homosexuality.
Dieter's on-air response was beyond the pale. He said: 
                              "You should get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight." 

My response shifts between blinding rage, and soul crushing depression... I lean more toward the depression, though. Not so much because I'm not angry with the person who said that, he's a small man using sensational speech to sell himself and his show. But for this man to have a show, people have to be listening to him. 

So, getting over depressed and angry, I signed the petition calling for his dismissal. Free speech goes both ways
But, at the same time, what I really want is for people to exercise the freedom to not listen to the deluded rantings of a ratings whore. 

I don't have a well formed opinion of Howard Stern, but the scene from his biopic, "Private Parts" serves as a useful example of my point. 

Researcher: The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes a day. The average Howard Stern fan listens for - are you ready for this? - an hour and twenty minutes. 
Kenny Rushton: How could this be? 
Researcher: Answer most commonly given: "I want to see what he'll say next." 
Kenny Rushton : All right, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern? 
Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day. 
Kenny Rushton : But... if they hate him, why do they listen? 
Researcher: Most common answer: "I want to see what he'll say next." 

When it comes to media, when you listen, you empower.

If it interest you, read about the whole thing here: