[Harp-L] free speech on a harmonica board
Free speech has been the foundation of my chosen career (newspapers), so it's something I know a little about.
An example of free speech: going to your local street corner and handing out flyers about how Senator so and so picks his nose or the president is a jackass, etc. Or maybe publish a leaflet that says the mayor, whom you believe to be a Supreme Jackass, never cried when "Old Yeller" died, etc.
In all those instances above, it was a person saying something in his own medium.
Now, let's say I am on a street corner holding up a sign that says "Diatonic Harps with nailed reedplates rule!" Now, some bozo comes along, jerks the sign out of my hand and writes in parenthesis: "For Suckers."
So, I flip the guy off and scribble out what he wrote. He cries about me violating his free speech. But his free speech rights did not apply.
The flipitization of my finger was free speech for me... my rigidly-outstretched digit was my medium of expression. Him writing "for suckers" was not free speech. In fact, he violated my right of free speech by using a medium I owed in a way I did not wish it to be used.
The elephant is not in this room until somebody lets it in. Harp-L is not a forum for free speech. It is a medium with contributors. Those with control and ownership of the medium decide what is acceptable and what is not.
This list is precisely like "Letters to the Editor" you see in your local newspaper. Newspapers have rules concerning this section, length restrictions, no LIBEL, etc. For instance, if somebody wrote a letter saying the mayor was a jackass who steals cable, that's not libelous, cause he's a public figure, but if you said your neighbor Oliver Klothesoff was a jackass and steals cable, that's libel.
Now you write a letter and say Oliver Klothesoff is stealing your cable, the newspaper tells you "we ain't gonna print this." Do people get angry and say their free speech is violated when their letters aren't printed? Oh yes, they do. But that's not what free speech is. Free speech is them starting up their own newspaper and printing whatever they want. It is not about abusing someone else's medium, because then you are trampling on the free speech rights of the medium owner.
OBLIGATORY HARP CONTENT --- Wood combs rule! Nails Rule! Bring back the old Bandmaster! It ruled! Whatnot!
Dave Payne Sr.
Elk River Harmonicas
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