I was happy that the spirit of creativity inspired me to write yesterday. I used to be able to blog so often. A lot of what took the wind of out my sails can’t be helped — increased job duties, the loss of a friend and colleague, the sexual assault of a friend by someone who I used to consider a friend and colleague, the death by a million papercuts that is openly existing on the Internet as I am.
There is one aspect of my demoralization that can be helped. Being sued by (yet another) someone I used to consider to be a friend and colleague sucks. Please share our network’s fundraiser to continue to fight against an alleged feminist free speech advocate’s attempt to silence anyone who says something he doesn’t like. If you are able to, contribute.
For all the anti-SJW blathering about how analysis, criticism, and discussion of social justice in society is censorship, a true threat to free speech is lawsuits designed to exhaust people into giving in and silencing themselves.
Defense against Carrier SLAPP Suit (GoFundMe)
There is a trend afoot that threatens the free discourse that is integral to honest and truthful exchanges of ideas both online and off. From columnists at The Wall Street Journal to self-described liberal professors writing anonymously on Vox to reposts of well-known atheosphere luminaries on The New Republic to writers on feminism at the New York Times to fiction writers who speak against it yet use it to publicize their work, there is a growing swell of voices speaking up and out regarding freedom of speech. These voices clamor against trigger warnings, which they point out protect students from things that they have personally found to help them grow as people. They worry that students will never learn about anything unpleasant (or anything at all) if they are warned about it beforehand.
It seems that their problem is that they think that a warning is a firm deterrent, if not a total block, against anyone reading anything ever, rather than a method by which to include even more readers. Such confusion is understandable; once upon a time, I briefly shared in it. As a much more experienced writer than I was back then, however, I now personally refuse to submit to their assaults on free speech that rely so heavily on their confusion as a cudgel. However much they insist that their outrage should affect me, I will continue to add content notices to my writings as is my right under the First Amendment. Continue reading “Trigger Warnings: An Plea for Freedom of Speech”
A phenomenon that has for the most part been limited to non-US soil made its way here this weekend. This past Sunday evening, two suspects attempted to shoot up the Draw Muhammad competition hosted in Garland, TX. Thankfully, no one was killed but the two would-be attackers; the injured security guard was treated and released.
For their part, members of the local Muslim community defended and affirmed the right to free speech of the event organizer, Pamela Geller, and anyone else interested in depicting or even insulting their most revered prophet. In fact, the gunmen weren’t even from the same state but instead from Phoenix, AZ. One of them was identified by the FBI as a terrorism suspect in the past.
As in other cases where Islam is the matter at hand, as a politically-progressive Western born-and-raised ex-Muslim of color, I don’t strongly identify with or endorse any side here. Geller and the others at the event, including Geert Wilders and the former-Muslim now-Ayn Randist who won the contest, aren’t exactly the types of people I want to have lots of power and influence in my country for many, many reasons.
On the other hand, obviously, I don’t condone violence as a way of dealing with right-wing speech, which is both ethically wrong and regressive, not to mention counterproductive. The only reason I know who Geller, Wilders, and their ilk are is because I was a Muslim and am no longer. These are people I vilified and reviled as a Muslim; as an ex-Muslim atheist, they are the types who claim to represent and defend people like me but with whom I often disagree. And now, more people know of them and their views than ever before.
I must have hit some sort of critical tipping point, because I can’t seem to go a week without a man getting angry at me for not agreeing with him when he comes into my online spaces and says something contentious. The excuses are usually based on the alleged humor of the remarks (often retroactively applied), the particular man’s sexual preferences, and Freeze Peach.
If “jokes,” “expressions of attraction, and “free speech” mean “they must agree with me at all times” in men’s minds, then I’m very much against all three.
Continue reading “Against Jokes, Expressions of Attraction, & Free Speech for Men”
Right around the time I started university, the original Muhammad cartoon controversy began and soon escalated into rioting and deaths. Nearly a decade later and at least a dozen more people are dead because someone drew some cartoons. Even the death of only the cartoonists in question would have been too many dead over cartoons; most who have died over the various sets of cartoons had nothing to do with any of them.
Back in 2005, I was a Muslim. Here in 2015, I’m an ex-Muslim atheist. My feelings about the cartoons are the same: They’re trashy pieces of arguable race-bait not worth killing or dying for, and the right to publish trashy race-baiting cartoons is definitely worth dying (and maybe killing?) for. Continue reading “Graven Images of Muhammad Should Lead to No Graves”