Author: eriatarka PM
People are f-ing crazy, amirite? This is an essay I wrote for my Civics class; the topic was freedom of speech and its relation to the internet, but I barely stayed on topic and most likely had points deducted for excessive use of exclamation points.Rated: Fiction K - English - Humor - Words: 947 - Reviews: 5 - Published: 01-23-09 - Status: Complete - id: 2625960
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People today are going crazy, am I right? I'm right. People today are also sue-happy, thus the daily lawsuits over insanely trivial matters! Not that I am saying that the destruction of a person's reputation is trivial, because it is absolutely not; 'a reputation is all a person has', or so I think I read somewhere sometime.
As anyone who has spent any amount of time in Mr. Jenkins's American Government class should know, the first amendment to our Constitution protects a person's freedom of speech, along with some other crap that's irrelevant right now. And unfortunately, the Constitution goes no deeper than that. No details, no adjectives, nothing to narrow it down for all of us in the future with all of our crazy technology and our shenanigans and deodorant and what not. But one of the reasons that our Constitution has lasted for two hundred years or more is because, hey, it's kind of vague. Normally, you would think "Vague is bad!", but, the vagueness eliminates the possibility of a loophole, because it allows us to interpret the document according to the current issues, which is neat, if I may say so myself!
When it comes to the issue of blogs and MySpace and stupid people being stupid people, I am a huge bucket of undecided opinion. On the one hand, it's pretty much impossible to censor something as massive and fast-paced as the Internet in a way that no one gets their feelings hurt. Also, there's that thing called slander, which is bad news. But it's only slander if the allegations are completely false, right? So how are we supposed to know whether or not they're true? The Todd Hollis case is a prime example. Sure, some women posted some things on the internet claiming that he had herpes, and he was very offended by this because he says that he doesn't have the aforementioned venereal disease, but do we know that Hollis doesn't have the herpes? Did his lawyer give him a test and then say "Okay, you're clean; we have a case"? I seriously doubt this.
A counterexample to the above argument would be the case involving former U.S. Senate aide Jessica Cutler and her "sexual escapades". (Note: If I were the kind of person that said "LOL", now would definitely be a time that it would be said.) Robert Steinbuch did not sue her because what she said was untrue; Steinbuch sued her over an "invasion of privacy", which is not mentioned in the first amendment anywhere ever, and yet somehow we've come to interpret those few lines so that they protect a person's privacy. And here again we return to the subject of our favorite living document, the Constitution, and how the interpretation of just a few words in it can destroy a person's life and well-being, which is so crazy.
But on the other hand, I understand that people use the internet to vent their frustrations and assume that there will be no consequences. People have this idea that the internet is some giant sandbox-place where anyone can say anything that they want about anyone and not feel any of the repercussions. They need to realize that what they say does have an effect, whether they're aware of it or not. These little postings can ruin a person's reputation and in turn ruin their business or career, and all because someone decided to make a blog.
But censorship of the Internet has a very dictator-type feeling about it, doesn't it? And people have used the Internet to bypass crazy totalitarian government censorship and stay in touch with the rest of the world, like in China during the Tiananmen Square rebellion, and also those nice people in Yugoslavia who exercised their right to freedom of speech to broadcast some radio program or something when one of the last dictatorial governments in Europe shut down all other forms of broadcasting. And even the U.S. government tried to censor the Internet via the Communications Decency Act, which tried to eliminate the distribution of adult material over the Web. Needless to say, people were not happy about this and, following the emergence of a blue ribbon campaign supporting freedom of speech on the Internet, the act was found unconstitutional. Because people need their porn, gosh darn it! (This is another one of those "LOL" moments I mentioned.)
I am very torn on this issue! Because I do think that there are certain cases where censorship would have eliminated the problem at the get-go, but again, it's just not possible to censor the entire Internet while upholding the right to freedom of speech. So I am going to have to say that I do not support censoring the Internet. There are some cases where people are actually harmed, and I think that those are important and the culprit should be punished by way of a guillotine or whatever the court deems suitable, but we can't destroy other people over petty things, like whether or not someone's gay or not or whether they have the clap. If we begin to censor the Internet that way, then what's next? The censorship of life (which happened on a wonderfully funny episode of Family Guy; may I just tell you, it did not end in the FCC's favor)? Hey, do you know who else basically tried to censor life? Pretty much every bad-guy-dictator ever, you say? Well, you would be correct there, my friend.