Lionel Podcast & Video: Thought Vigilantes & Anthony Cumia

Prolegomenon. Since when does your taking offense enable and equip you with the ability to shut someone’s thoughts down? How does your categorization of my speech as offensive trump my right to say it in the first place? And better yet, why not opt out and merely change the channel, turn it off, unfollow, unfriend and just move along little dogie? Think (to use the negligence analog) the last clear chance doctrine. That, of course would make perfect sense. But wait, it gets better.

The gravamen. The issue is not whether a private corporation has the right to can the O&A moiety, Anthony Cumia, the issue is where’s our hardwired allergy to his censorship? Not to mention the loss of a rather lucrative livelihood that brought the company millions one would think. Where’s our patellar reflex, that Pavlovian obeisance to the notion of free speech and expression? A citizen’s been shut down for extraneous, extra-jusridictional and collateral statements. Doesn’t anyone notice? Or care? And this on the 238th birthday of the republic that ostensibly stands for the freedom of speech. I mean, that’s what the terrorists hate, right? Our freedom. That’s the issue, Sparky.

“I do declare, Miss Scarlett, I’ve been offended.” I’m getting the vapors. What shall I do? Try nothing. Read a book. And the point can’t be made enough or any clearer. Nothing will happen to you if someone says something that over the top rude, obnoxious and/or hateful. Repeat. Nothing will happen to you is someone utters something offensive.

My fellow lover of liberty, none other than Ricky Gervais said something that is just perfect.

I see offence as the collateral damage of free speech. I hate the thought of a person’s ideas being modified or even hushed up because someone somewhere might not like to hear them. Outside actually breaking the law or causing someone physical harm “hurting someone’s feelings” is almost impossible to objectively quantify.

Whither critical thinking? Listen to the discussions and you’ll hear dolt after Boeotioan state the issue as whether a private corporation can remove an employee. At the risk of sounding criminally redundant, you do realize that’s not the issue, don’t you? I’d expect nothing less from a corporate entity. Citizens United and Hobby Lobby notwithstanding, corporations aren’t people. People have feelings and on occasion guts. I’d be less than candid, however, if I didn’t express some surprise at a company that brags that it’s a safe haven from the play-it-safe and pabulum programing, free of FCC concerns. Amazing, truly ’tis.

The impuissant broadcast professional takes a pass on this one. And what a bunch of losers this crew’s turned out to be. So far, at least, let’s be fair. I mean there’s a chance they’ll come to the defense of freedom of expression, right? Ha! What are you smoking? They too have been so beaten down and acclimated and habituated to the notion of control that they just nod as the sheeple they are. Amazing, isn’t it? You’d think that folks whose very living relies and depends on unfettered speech would rail against a fellow broadcaster being clipped for something he said when not even broadcasting. You’d think after all of Howard Stern’s past problems he’d come to Ant’s defense sorta. Not out of friendship, mind you, but in the spirit of speech. I’ll tell you one thing. This would have never happened with Mel Karmazin at the helm. The man had elephantine huevos. And just imagine the reconstituted, left-over show remnant Opie &. Remember when a named member is jettisoned the name remains intact. Just ask “and the Pips” after Gladys booked it. What about that team? Not that you need more complication to the already stratified world of this issue but there are some very serious legal issues to weigh through. Those will be addressed instanter.

Thought vigilantes versus the police. Police denote government. Vigilantes emphasize the notion of the self-appointed, the Barney Fife types who feel that the authorities aren’t doing enough. They take it upon themselves to point out where others have transgressed. Imagine a more annoying and less lethal George Zimmerman. Church Lady meets Little Brother.

Being offended as a parlor game. Welcome to the United States of the Easily Offended. It’s who we’ve become. We actually get a kick out of it. Every day, teams of hypersensitive sentries pore over stories and Twitter and Facebook accounts hoping to catch something that can be viewed as offensive to soemeone. And all the while, no one can answer the question: So what if you’re offended? Better yet, just who was offended in the first place?

Let me get this straight. So, Anthony Cumia, who worked for this free speech monster, this medium that touted the irreverent and the censor-free, a subscription service that fellow artist Howard Stern joined after he long high-tailed it and escaped the censorious and ever-fining grip of the FCC, let me get this straight: SiriusXM fired Cumia . . . for what he wrote on his Twitter account?! Let’s just stop right there for a minute. Do you see anything so pathetically and obviously wrong with that? If you don’t you need remedial help in common sense. And as they say on QVC, but wait, there’s more. You have to actually go looking for this horrid Twitter account, allegedly flush with “racially charged” invectives. It doesn’t just fall into your lap, you must seek it out. Get this: In order to be offended! So, you have to pay for the subscription radio service that never broadcast his offensive bleating and you have to go and find the Twitter thread to be offended. That’s a lot of work, don’t you think?

I want my old country back.

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