Category Archives: freedom of expression

Bong Hits 4 Jesus

From the BBC:

The US Supreme Court is considering its first major test of students’ free speech rights in two decades.

At issue is whether a school principal violated a student’s right to free speech by suspending him for displaying a banner reading “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”.

The principal’s lawyer, a certain Kenneth Star, frames the case as one of drug laws. That is, in order to stop drug use in America’s schools, school administrators need to be able to drill the message into students that drugs are bad without being contradicted by attention-seeking class clowns.

To me, this seems about as bad as using history classes to teach national myths and propaganda.

Says Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick:

The justices appear to loathe each alternative about equally. At some point, Justice Stephen Breyer groans that a ruling for the students would encourage them to be “testing limits all over the place in the high schools,” whereas a ruling for the schools would certainly end up limiting lots of speech.

I doubt there will be serious repercussions if the Court rules in favour of the students. After all, it was hardly the end of the world when schools lost the ability to physically punish students.

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Spying on Tommy, spying on me

The Canadian Press, through Freedom of Information laws, have recently been able to get their hands on the the RCMP’s massive file on Tommy Douglas. Information was collected on Douglas from 1939 through the late seventies.

Perhaps fittingly, the file contains articles noting Douglas’s concern about rumours of RCMP surveillance of Canadians, though there is no indication the politician suspected he was being watched.

“Setting people to spy on one another is not the way to protect freedom,” he wrote while NDP leader.

His concern remains germane today, when we are prepared to give up our freedom piecemeal for protection from a threat that essentially amount to the boogey man: anonymous terrorists who walk among us and could strike anywhere at any time.

According to CP, the RCMP kept files on 800,000 Canadians, including 650 politicians and beaurocrats. Spying on the people for their politics – or today, their ethnicity – is no way to run a free country.

Slavery is Freedom

Call me unenlightened, but I don’t see how exotic-dance lessons make you a feminist. If you define measure your femininity by your ability to please men (whether in the kitchen, the bedroom, or the strip joint), you may have missed the point of the last 90 years of women’s rights advances.

Far be it from me to tell you how better to define yourself. I have all the wrong chromosomes for that. But I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t involve seeking approval from men.

(EDIT: clumsy word choice)