Adjectives that describe my feature on free speech

11May09

According to at least one blogger, I am not very good at my job. Oh, before you continue, be sure to read the feature on free speech that I wrote for Xtra a few weeks back. I’ve written myself into readers’ bad books before, but never quite like this.

WARNING: What lies ahead might just be an excuse for me to print my surname a whole bunch of times. Proceed with caution.

According to Praxis, Metaxis, Adidas Sneakers, I am nothing short of an awful journalist. Because everyone’s opinion is relevant, I won’t discount this at all. Maybe this person has a point. Anyways, a selection of descriptors and accusations:

  • “Lazy journalism is dangerous journalism”
  • “Taylor-Vaisey conveniently leaves out…”
  • “What Taylor-Vaisey and liberal-minded students like [him]…”
  • This is outrageous!”
  • It disturbs me that the Taylor-Vaisey thinks likening queer groups on campus to pro-life groups on campus is a good idea…”
  • “Taylor-Vaisey’s disturbingly misguided article…”
  • “Taylor-Vaisey’s article makes both queers and women susceptible to the kind of divide-and-conquer strategy that those in power have relied upon for hundreds of years…”
  • “What Taylor-Vaisey lacks, and what I think so many of us tragically lack, is basic knowledge of anti-oppression”

Does that blog have a point? Let me know.

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One Response to “Adjectives that describe my feature on free speech”

  1. I think the best argument against the “anti-anti-choice” policies that have been attempted at CUSA/Guelph CSA/etc. are that they didn’t achieve even their intended objective. If anything these pro-life groups have got more visibility since they got “censored”. Idem for the Palestinian poster at Ottawa and Carleton. Maybe if some people on the left cared about concrete results before ideological purity, they would be better equipped to face the global backlash.

    That said, I find it unfortunate and confusing that people are calling a lot of things “free speech” issues, when they simply aren’t. Only when the police arrests you for putting up a display, it becomes a question of free speech.

    At least in most liberal democracies, free speech has to do with being protected against punishment for your beliefs, by some government authority. (Of course the idea that a public university is some form of government authority is not agreed upon by all.)

    Free speech never means that you are entitled to a tribune. Private media refusing to put certain ads is not an infringement of free speech (indeed, if say, you were prohibited by law to refuse ads by the army, THAT would be a serious breach of individual rights by the government). This is not to say that it couldn’t constitute discrimination (e.g. if they refused ads from queer people or Asians, as an example). But again discrimination and free speech are different questions, and mixing them together might confuse the debate.


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