Freedom Of Speaking

Dear Drunk:

Thanks for your email and directing me to this. Yes, I have read it on Twitter. The debates it has set off has led probably the most readers to Harper’s since the Civil War:

I see you managed to compose your take even while hung over. My view? It is basically about wondering what REALLY motivates that.

Seeing Chomsky sign anything possibly considered critical of the left leaves me stunned: if the left has lost Chomsky, they have evidently left the planet.

I tend to agree with Rushdie on lots, particularly his view that a certain Shades book is the worst thing ever published.

I don’t much like Atwood’s writing – I started one of her books and found it not my thing – but she is entitled to her opinions.

[Tomorrow The Grace on iPad. Photo by me, 2020.]

We are writers too, and right now it is MORE about damn priorities methinks. We are watching our bank account diminishing monthly and it is not a good feeling. We are hardly alone in that, and we are not as bad off as many. Much of the world faces life chaos in this pandemic – utter financial ruin and some even DEATH gasping for air with their loved ones unable even to hold their hand as they die.

And at this time of all times this bunch of the Great and the Good are choosing to get all worked up over criticisms on, say, Twitter? No one is forcing anyone to use any social media platforms or put their opinions out there. For one, Rowling and her stance on gender identity is constantly getting her in Twitter hot water. Why the hell is she so shocked? And I don’t understand what she is so uptight about anyway. No one is decreeing to her under penalty of imprisonment that she must become a man. Why is she getting some readers so off-side and sticking fingers in some eyes? She should just stick to writing about wizards, for god’s sake, and help readers find some escape and hope and joy in this ugly life.

Notice these are also almost all people who are already secure in their incomes and positions… although Starkey – I know he didn’t sign it, he is just an example of an opinionated gasbag and overinflated ego – was also one of those types until he said something inexcusably glib and stupid a few days ago (and which we all for years kinda suspected he was thinking anyway) and within about 15 minutes everyone fired him. That is a price we ALL may face. And, guess what, it is not out of line.

Look, freedom of speech is about freedom from governmental penalties for what we write or say, not freedom from “Susan98961” or “AmericanPatriot897985” on Twitter calling us names and saying we are idiots or fascists or communists or that we are lousy writers. “Susan98961” or “AmericanPatriot897985” don’t have the right to arrest me, and they have a right to speak their minds too. Nor is it about us being able to spout whatever we want even if someone who signs a paycheck for us thinks that what we write or say is not what they want to be associated with; in that case, yes, they do have a right not to employ us.

This is also why I use a pseudonym. My concerns are family and friends and even an employer, but those are PERSONAL. If I don’t face prison for my opinions, I have freedom of speech. You would think the Great and the Good would understand the damn difference.

Now, go have a drink. Yeh, I know it’s still early, but that never stopped you before. My Mrs. will have me eat more oat bran because it’s healthy – I love her so much.

Your friend in drunkenness, R.

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