Chase Utley, the “F” word, and bad taste

Perhaps it was the placement of a new William Penn atop the Comcast Building which undid the curse. Perhaps the curse was just a false religion. In either case, there is no curse now, and the Philadelphia Phillies have won the World Series.

Having lived in the middle of all the celebrating, I can say for certain that not much work has been accomplished in this city the past several days. The World Series victory has been a diversion for everyone, regardless of whether they were looking for one or not. Even I, who generally would rather sit at home and read my Murray Rothbard books than go out and try to patch together a pleasant evening in an oppressively noisy bar, got caught up in the revelry. I attended Friday’s victory parade and then walked the four blocks back to my apartment to watch the ceremony held at the ballpark.

Now, when events like this happen in Philadelphia, everyone holds his breath. Will people destroy the city? As it turns out, no. There was just one bump in the road on Friday. As part of a queue of speakers, Phillies shortstop Chase Utley stepped up to the microphone and unleashed the dreaded “F” word (no….not Federal Reserve!) before any of the TV producers could get a finger on the mute button.

Uh oh.

Now, before I say another word I ought to say this: I am not in the least offended by profanity, and in fact I enjoy using a good bit of it myself. Sometimes, there is just no other way to express a thought. This is because language, beyond the literal meaning of the words, has tendency, and it has sentiment. Surely, after a 25 year long championship drought in Philadelphia, there’s plenty of what could be (loosely) called sentiment to go around.

However, this episode frankly gave me a sinking feeling, a feeling of disappointment. Utley’s comment was completely unnecessary, though I suspect it was the result of an unguarded moment. Ever forget where you are and say something you shouldn’t? This could be what happened to Utley.

Various reactions to this episode poured onto local websites. Most common were the “What’s the big deal?” reactions. (We could call these the “libertines.”) In second place we had the Sheila Broflovskys, who were all concerned about the children. There is another response that often happens in situations like this which might be called the “theocratic” reaction, though it seems to be happily underrepresented here in Philadelphia. These are the people who write the local newspapers and call down the wrath of God on the person who said the bad word (would he be called by these people the “f**ker”?). They call for laws and all sorts of other tyrannical imbecilities which are supposed to protect the innocence of our Great Society. These are the people who give the FCC what legitimacy it has, and they’re responsible for that stupid TV ratings system that no one pays attention to.

The truth is that all of these people have missed the point. Start with the children. Let’s get serious for a minute: How many of them had never heard this word before? Thinking realistically and leaving aside puritanical-Utopian fantasy, we can surmise that most of them have already heard it. And for those who haven’t, I don’t see that such an experience will make a dime’s worth of difference in the development of their long term character, which really comes from good parenting. A good parent doubtlessly took the time to explain that they don’t want to hear that kind of language in their house. So, Sheila Broflovsky can go home now.

We have already explained the problem of the theocrats, but what’s the problem with the libertines? In truth, the libertines and the theocrats suffer from the same inability to properly identify the problem with public, TV-broadcast profanity. They are blind to the actual malady, which is really quite simple.

The problem is bad taste–no more, no less. (This is not to put down Utley as more tasteless than the general population; he is only a product of his culture, just like the rest of us.) Our society tends to group various actions into two broad categories: actions which are legal, and actions which are not–or perhaps one might say actions which can be done and actions which cannot be done. There is little sense of ought and ought not. This is where taste–or one could call it good manners–comes in. It is not moral law, it is not civic law, it is the agreed-upon code of conduct between men, and it is perhaps more responsible for peaceable relationships among us than the nun’s clicker or the policeman’s baton.

The problem with an absence of manners is that positive law is more quickly appealed to in order to rectify an issue which really belongs to the province of good taste. We don’t need the FCC telling us what we can and cannot say on television. Nor do we need to exaggerate and treat the “F” word as a mortal sin, a colossal upsetting of the Order of the Universe. What we need is good taste, so that we can all agree that Chase Utley shouldn’t have said what he said.

And then leave it at that.

Female teen pro-life demonstrators publicly strip-searched by Maryland police

So what? They needed a stupid permit. Big freakin’ deal. Hell, they even tried to comply by moving their demonstration. They were rewarded by being strip-searched by perverts.

But, of course, the last thing we should ever expect is for a cop to be reasonable. The State is not eloquence, it is force. Nor is the State introspective. The prosecutor dropped all charges, but I have seen no evidence of an apology. If a private entity wrongs you, they must make proper restitution, but if the State wrongs you, they just try to brush it off. People observe this and then say that we need the State to guard our rights. Phoooey!

I hope the lawsuit of the pro-lifers is not only successful, I hope that they win a judgment that bankrupts the entities that pounced all over their basic human dignity.

A first-hand account of Republican aggression at the Texas State Convention

Via LRC’s blog.

“Anyone sympathetic to the Paul delegates or even those for fair and open discussion were threatened with arrest.”

The Republican Party doesn’t mind being pro-gun, because it’s fascist military can quickly vaporize anyone who tries to use one. But ideas, truly they are dangerous things to the Oligarchy. Heaven forfend that truth and common sense would be allowed a hearing.

Will someone please arrange a Paul/Barr/Baldwin ticket? They could amass 20% of the vote and drill the GOP into the ground for all eternity. Maranatha!

SS confiscates Ron Paul materials at the RNC

The following was sent to me via one of the Ron Paul meetup group mailing lists. It is a complete outrage.

People, your rights are gone; they’re just treating us like frogs in a pot so that we don’t know it. Before I saw this, I was kind of disinterestedly watching this election. Now I hope that Jack Sss McCain loses all 50 states and that “conservatism” is dumped on the ash heap of history.

———

CALL TO ACTION! PLEASE FORWARD THE FOLLOWING PRESS RELEASE TO THE MEDIA. TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. CALL TO ACTION.

Press Release.

SECRET SERVICE CONFISCATES RON PAUL DELEGATES MATERIALS.

St Paul, MN

Boris in Miami
Sept, 04 2008
18:07 EST

Delegate Dennis Rothacker from FL opened this story when he sent the following urgent text message:

“We just had a group shot of all the RP delegates and alternates, the secret service came and started searching everyone and took anything RP related. We got it on video though…”

Today at the Republican Nationa Convention, as the Ron Paul Delegates were taking a picture in front of the model White House inside the Convention Center, they were surrounded by Secret Service which proceeded to search the bags of all the delegates. They took any and everything related to Ron Paul including signs, buttons, videos, slim jims, cards, even books. “this is an obvious and outrageous violation of our first amendment rights” said Nathan Hanson, attorney and Delegate from MN.

Alternate Delegate Dennis Rothacker from Florida said “We were done taking the picture when Secret Service started walking into the room and surrounded us. There were about 30 of them. When they searched my bags they took my Ron Paul sign and turned a deaf ear to my complains, they just walked away.”

Delegate Ron Warner from Fairbanks Alaska added that as he was walking into the convention center today with about 15 Revolution Manifesto books, 20 DVD’s for Delegates, 20 Ron Paul buttons and a handful of other things, we was stopped by security which called on an obviously important higher up, who directed all the materials to be confiscated. She told him, and I quote “You can’t bring that in here, this is Mc Cain territory”

Dennis, Ron and the other delegates report being openly followed by secret service. He says that they had been monitored from the beginning of the convention, but that now they are being shadowed constantly.

There are also reports of delegates being approached by security and told that they will be summarily thrown out if they leave their assigned chair.

19:07 PM St. Paul, MN

Delegate Corey Sax From MN’s district five was on the floor and he witnessed six oral votes for Ron Paul out of a forty something total delegation. These votes were not counted or read aloud by the RNC.

Corey says that Ron Carey and Tim (last name missing) witnessed the RNC tell them that they had technical difficulties and that was the reason for not reading the votes for Ron Paul. He says that the same happened to the Texas delegation and other states. He clearly stated that illegal under counting of delegates votes was going across many states delegations.

Adam Weigold, Delegate from MN, reported that today he has been approached at least five times by other delegates at large who ask him to borrow his pass to go the bathroom. From his conversation with other delegates, it seems that this is an orchestrated effort as many of them have been approached. Without their pass credentials, they would not be able to claim their seat or remain at the convention.

Other delegates who gave interviews were Austin, from NC, and Nathan Hanson, a delegate and attorney from MN.

The delegates remain at the convention center till 10:30 or 11:00PM. They are gathering together and plan to approach the media in mass and demand that this obvious disregard for the first amendment and for their votes be reported by the national media.

19:06 PM
St Paul MN

Boris in Miami

———–

I will be following this story closely. Wake, and sleep no longer. The country that your great-grandfathers built is history.

Minneapolis pigs mace photographer

Police officers once commanded a fair amount of respect in society, but I have noticed that within the past few years, many people have begun to hold rather a disregard for them. These are not troublemakers, but reasonable, good people who have seen cops abuse their power.

Now, from the looks of this article, some of the protesters in Minneapolis are asking for trouble by damaging property, etc, but why would police mace someone who is just there to document the events? What are they afraid of?

From the article:

Marcus Washington, a freelance videographer wearing a “Media” badge, said cops sprayed him with pepper spray twice at Seventh and Minnesota streets.

“I grabbed my press pass, a walked forward with my camera toward police just to film them and they maced me,” said Washington, shirtless and whose face was streaked with a liquid used to flush the pepper spray. “I got delerious and blind and fell over. … It’s still burning because I shaved my head and I have tattoos.”

Again, it bears repeating: this is what happens when the State has a monopoly on force. It reduces the rest of us to mere serfs. From a natural rights perspective, that photographer, granting that his version of the story is true, had every right to respond to protect himself, but of course, if he did that–hell, even if he tried to run away (not that he was able)–he would have been shot.

Only time will tell on how much the news media decides to lump the violent protesters in with the others. If they hate the Statist GOP as much as the conservative punditry alleges, they won’t do it one bit. There are a lot of protesters up there with a message worth hearing.

Achtung! Tyranny in Denver, Tertia Pars

Not only has the city of Denver built a bare-bones facility to house any protesters who might be arrested at the Democratic Convention, it has also designated protest areas, where those who wish to protest will be forced to stand. These protest areas, are, essentially, cages, and they’re located 200 yards from where the convention delegates will be. Some free speech this is. Don’t let the Oligarchical sympathizers fool you with their neo-Puritan notion of what the First Amendment means: If the protesters cannot interact with the movers and shakers at the convention, then their free speech rights are being violated.

There is one man who could bring a stop to this in a New York minute, and he’s a guy from Chicago named Barack Obama. All he has to do is call a press conference and say, “Let these people be heard.” I’m not going to hold my breath. Barack Obama: Illegal wiretaps we can believe in.

Visit the Rutherford Institute.

47% of Americans favor censorship

Usually, when I’m looking for proof of American stupidity, I try to find something cultural: Britney Spears, American Idol, and some of the requests I get as a church musician are all quite helpful in this regard.  Today, however, there is a poll which says that 47% of Americans favor the fairness doctrine, which would require political commentators on radio and television (and some worry about the internets, too) to allow equal time for the opposing viewpoint.

Where can one begin with this?  Perhaps so many Americans favor this so that they can be lazier in what they use for sources of news.  Maybe they want to stick it to commentators they don’t like, whether it be Rush Limbaugh or Keith Olbermann.  Honestly, I’ve listened to both of these guys at times, and both shows would be utterly ruined by this stupid law which may well be proposed in the next congress.

Whatever the case is, if one were to be required to say x after he said y, this can be nothing short of a violation of the first amendment.  What would Edward R. Murrow do?

Finally, for those of you who don’t care about this (similarly to not caring about the diluting of other civil liberties) I would remind you that when one man’s rights are circumscribed, so are everyone else’s.

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