Imus & Freedom of Speech

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.
Bill of Rights – First Amendment

The first amendment governs much of U.S. society’s collective conscious and unconscious. One could reasonably argue the “Freedoms” in the Bill of Rights are equivocal with our understanding of “Liberty.”

Now, how does either pertain to the absurdities from everyone around, surrounding, and abounding Mr. Don Imus and his recent comments regarding the Rutgers womans basketball team?

Imus, by insanity, jerk-hood, un-hipness, or whatever, freely and legitimately exercised his First Amendment freedoms in expressing himself as he did. He wasn’t P.C. – per usual he was crude, rude, and otherwise obnoxious. He was, however, fully and completely within every right to say what he said! Like it or not, the first amendment grants the same equality in freedom of speech to Joe Average, Mrs. International Billionaire, and Mr. Jerk-On-Radio.

If one truly believes in freedom, the U.S. Constitution & Bill of Rights, etc, then speech, press, etc are FREE.

Here it may seem that one could argue that what Imus did was “defamation.” Who did he defame? What product or company was he libelous towards? Who did he slander? The answer: no one & nothing.

Imus’ comments addressed no particular person, so no slander. His comment wasn’t a printed un-truth about a product which in turn hurt business. Actually, if one were to consider the Rutgers Woman’s Basketball team a ‘product,’ Imus’ comments did greater good than harm: compared to men’s basketball, either college or professional, woman’s basketball doesn’t get much attention, let alone a particular college team – regardless of talent. Now, however, many, many eyes are on Rutgers & womans basketball.

Imus’ comment was an opinion drenched in un-P.C bigotry, but he is and was free to express it. If you didn’t like Imus (now that you don’t have the freedom to listen to him), you were just as free to turn off the radio or change the station. Hell, you could just as easily listened to smooth jazz, NPR, gangster rap, classical music, or neo-nazi propaganda – via radio, phono-gram, singing telegram, podcast, blog or whatever.

Imus was a jerk. I wouldn’t repeat his comments in civilized company. There are, however, folk out there I find much more offensive to my person on a daily basis – and a large number of them are extraordinarily non-P.C. and I hate political correctness. But, I am free to listen or watch something else.

Imus’ comments ruffle your feathers? You’re just as free as he was in making his comments to speak up & speak out. Boycott his radio program, put up signs, get yourself heard. His employer had just as much right to his or her opinions & freedoms to fire Imus (which did occur). But, just as you have the freedom to complain – he had the same freedoms to say what he said.

As free as a bird Imus uttered those words. Was he, however, at Liberty to say what he said? Liberty isn’t contained within the first amendment. Who’s even sure what Liberty means in the “neo-modern-post-modernism-neo-classical-post-gen-X” or whatever world we live in?

This question is one where Imus’ (former)employer(s), offended persons, etc, should have been much more concerned with. If a particular person was physically, emotionally, psychologically or however else injured by Imus’ remarks… well… we have a judicial system in place to address these civil issues and provide the proper venue to truly question whether or not Imus was at liberty to say what he said (since he certainly was free to say what he said).

Imus is and was always known for making outlandish, non-pc, edgy, no-P.C.-no-beat-around-the-bush comments and was fully free to say what he said. Particular people who felt themselves slighted by his remarks should have taken the issue to court where a judge or jury could decide if Mr. Imus was at ‘Liberty’ to make the statements he made – he sure was ‘free’ to do so.

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