Bum of the Week: Everyone’s Understanding of the First Amendment

I can say whatever the fuck I want, whenever the fuck I want.  So can you!  It’s one of the greater freedoms administered to American citizens through the U.S. Constitution.  The right to “free speech,” as it’s often referred to, more accurately reads:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

You might notice something important from the plain language of the amendment.  It only protects you from the government’s actions.  That is, a private entity (such as, cough, your employer) can fire or otherwise discipline the shit out of you for what you say.  So Trump calling for Jemele Hill’s job over her deeming him a white supremacist does not violate her freedom of speech, even if ESPN fired the fuck out of her as a direct result of these comments.  Moreover, yelling “FREE SPEECH” does not invoke the privilege you dinguses, just like Michael Scott verbally declaring bankruptcy didn’t accomplish the same.


Clay Travis recently thrust himself to the forefront of the media through an appearance on CNN.  Here’s the entire video:

Here’s Travis’ money quote:

I believe in only two things completely: the first amendment and boobs.

This simple declaration sent the entirety of social media into heightened levels of shock and appall, as if Travis swore allegiance to the Third Reich on national television.  Was it unnecessary?  Sure.  Travis is a troll.  A smart one to be sure, but a troll nonetheless.  The smartest element of his two part statement, however, is that it proves itself.

By leading with how absolute he applies the first amendment, him then saying something ridiculous (albeit true) right after demonstrates the first amendment’s application in true effect.

The best part of the interview is Travis’ co-interviewee, who, after giving us about twenty different outraged expressions, says:

I love the first amendment as well.  I also love women, and … I’m not gonna talk about [boobs] on television.  I’m a staunch supporter of women in their careers … to have women’s anatomy brought up in this conversation completely derails it.

This guy essentially said he supports people’s ability to say whatever they want BUT Travis shouldn’t be able to say what he said.  In fact, he is unwilling to continue the conversation because of it.  Travis is also implied as sexist for saying he liked boobs.  This dude has every right to his opinion, but isn’t his point slightly hypocritical?

The reasonable time to talk about boobs is likely not on CNN.  But I think Travis did so to prove a point (in his own twisted way): outrage is more common than acceptance.  This sort of point only highlights the issues with modern society’s reading of the first amendment.  People are champions of the freedom of speech only to the extent the speech mimics their own opinions.  If your statement differs from theirs, you’re racist, sexist, or [insert other blanket designation].

May God have mercy on our souls.  Also, I’d like to publicly declare that The BarnBurner likes boobs.  We also like other sexual organs.  In fact, there is no sexual organ that we hate.  Look at me with my open mindedness!!

[banner image from http://www.statesymbolsusa.org]

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