Friday, July 04, 2003

Do I get credit?
After extensive research, I am proclaiming:
The Cracker Barrel Philosopher's Law:
Anyone in the news claiming that free speech rights have been violated has never read the 1st Amendment to the Constitution.
All I have is empirical proof, but it seems to be a reliable guide. Case in point - Karen Hunter, formerly an august member of the editorial board of the NY Daily News and currently a professor at Hunter College, who penned In Jersey, free speech takes a hit:
New Jersey's General Assembly voted 69 to 2 this week to eliminate the state's poet laureate position. The real purpose was to get rid of the controversial Amiri Baraka.

Baraka was asked by Gov. Jim McGreevey to resign last fall following publication of his poem "Somebody Blew Up America," which asks a series of questions, among them: "Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed/Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the twin towers/To stay home that day? Why did Sharon stay away?/Who? Who? Who?"
Even if you agree that Baraka pushed too far, don't we need to defend his right to speak?
Democracy and freedom of speech are basic to America. Eliminating New Jersey's poet laureate position is an effort to censor Baraka - and thus a symbolic slap at free speech.
Bzzzt! Thanks for playing, Karen. And you can't weasel out with a "symbolic slap".

Maybe these folks are from some alternative universe where every eructation that passed their lips was greeted with homage by the general populace, who then proceeded to shower them with loose change. Well, let's all welcome Imamu and Karen to Earth.

And then maybe someone can explain why New Jersey had a poet laureate in the first place.