Reader Feedback, Old and New 07/05/2005

Curiously, more than any article we ran in last week's WWNK, what generated the most (and the most passionate) reactions were some of the reader comments we posted regarding the article "Libraries--Last Bastions of Freedom."

The pro-PATRIOT Act views of our conservative readers we published last week led to an outcry from the liberal side of our readership this week. For reasons of space, we decided to run only one letter, the most representative one.

"I'm sick and tired of listening to all of these ignorant right-wingers defending the Patriot Act, as if it's some sort of necessary evil that we all have to accept, in order to preserve our way of life. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, it's the exact opposite of preserving our way of life. It's just one more step in the direction of changing the very basic nature of this society, to the point at which it will no longer even be recognizable by comparison to what was laid out in our Constitution.

"A few comments, in particular, were incredibly offensive and, quite frankly, moronic. I'm paraphrasing here..."If someone goes to a library and checks out a book about bomb-making, or Osama Bin Laden, shouldn't we have a right to know, or they should be at least checked out?" The answer is a resounding "NO!" You don't have that right. The right to privacy is protected by the Constitution. If I want to go read about bombs, or Osama Bin Laden, for my own information, that's my own damn business, and absolutely none of yours. If the right to expect privacy is taken away, then people will be afraid to inform themselves about anything that they think might draw attention to themselves. Maybe you aren't interested in learning about anything, but I am, and I don't care one bit whether you approve of my choice of subject matter.

"This society is based on the principle of innocent until proven guilty. That means you have no right to investigate me until a crime has been committed, and there is reason to suspect me of having committed it. We can not stop every crime that is going to be committed. It's an unfortunate fact of life, but I would rather live in a free society, the one guaranteed to me by the Constitution, than live in a semi-police-state, where every potentially suspicious act is monitored, recorded and investigated, just because someone, somewhere, gets the notion that I might be up to no good.

"If another 9/11 is in the cards for us, then it is going to happen, and there is really not all that much that we can do about it. We will do everything that we can, but whether you like it or not, you need to simply accept that people who want to do us harm will always have the advantage. We can and will be as proactive as possible, but not at the cost of our way of life. I am not willing to give up my rights to freedom and privacy, just so you can sleep better at night in your paranoid, control-freak little world. Furthermore, I am sick of listening to conservative dolts telling me that I should, or that I should get out, because I am not a Patriot. Grow up.

"Someone else wrote that "anybody who doesn't like it here should get the hell out." Well, here's a thought. You seem to be the one who doesn't like it here. This country was founded over two hundred years ago, and the Constitution of the United States guarantees it's citizens the freedom to be individuals, to have their own ideas and thoughts, and to live in privacy, without fear of some big brother looking over their shoulder at every turn. Right-wingers want us to give that away, bit by precious little bit, and they seem to think that anyone who disagrees is not a patriot, hence the farcical term "Patriot Act." It's all a bunch of lies and propaganda, supported by scared little children, afraid of the big bad wolf and hoping that their good-hearted, iron-fisted father-figure, right-wing, Christian leaders will lead them to the promised land.

"So we continue to cede them ever more power, until one day we will all wake up, only to realize, too late, and to our collective dismay, exactly the full extent of the miscalculation. It is much easier to make laws that give a government more power, than it is to have them repealed, once they are in place. History is replete with examples of that, and we would be most wise to take notice.

"The Constitution was written the way that it was, precisely to guard against the acquisition of too much power by too few individuals or groups. It was, and still is, a good and sound idea. Anyone who can't see that is just plain retarded. Sorry, but I'm done pulling my punches. After all, the right never does. If you disagree with them, they will call you every name in the book, question your intellect, your sanity, your love for your country, on and on, blah, blah, blah. Well, I think the number of people is growing, every day, who are sick and tired of being told by others, the self-proclaimed moral majority (what a joke), how to think and what is right and how we should live. It's because they don't know how to think for themselves. Here is a thought... live your own life, and stay the hell out of mine... You are the ones who are not true Patriots, because you don't even support your own Constitution. You think we should change it, change our most basic way of life. Here's my idea. If you don't like it here, then you get the hell out!!!

(A True Patriot)


Speaking of controversy: Here is some reader feedback on last week's article "Indecency and the FCC."

"Turn the channel is your answer to the garbage Hollywood is putting on TV? You know who complained? It's good decent people who care about their kids and family.

"Why does the garbage have to be on prime time when young people are up and might be flipping through the channels? It's all about Hollywood making more money, that is why they don't put it on late at night when the kids should be in bed and the "older crowd" can choose to just change the channel or turn it off. Why are 10, 11, 12 year olds having sex? Because they see it all over the TV and movies and it must be the "cool" thing to do if the movie stars are doing it. Do they show the consequences of their bad choices? And the price they will pay if they get a STD? Oh no, that wouldn't be pretty and wouldn't make them any money. Have you ever talked to a 13- year-old girl who is pregnant and scared to death about her future? No, you probably haven't, your answer would be for her to have an abortion and 'get rid of the problem.'

"You are right, we all should be concerned, but not that people are finally speaking up and saying wrong is wrong. But about the Hollywood bunch who choose again and again to put their garbage on the airways so they can live their excessive lifestyles."

(Marlene R.)

"I am still angry with the media and our elected officials over their response to Janet Jackson's 'Wardrobe Malfunction'. We, the general public, will probably never know if it was a malfunction or not, but the response by the media and continuing reaction of government and regulatory officials is a major malfunction.

"First, let's look at just the numbers. An ABC News online article reported an estimated number of viewers at 100 million. While I cannot find articles that agree on the exact number of complaints (estimates range from 200,000 to 540,000), I will use a number printed in the Seattle times which is 530,885. This would put the percentage of complaints per viewers at 0.53%. That is one half of one percent.

"To me, this is not significant enough to raise any concern at all, but let's examine these complaints further. As you quote 'over 98% of the complaints came from a single source, a Los Angeles-based lobby called the Parents Television Council (PTC)'. reports in an article dated 01/18/2005 that '99.98 percent of the grievances could be traced back to one group, the Parents Television Council'. How many of these were actually individuals voicing their complaint? How many were simply generated over and over with the click of a mouse? I've tried to research this information, but it appears that no one has looked into this.

"If we subtract 99.8 percent of these complaints from the 530,885, that leaves us with 1,062 complaints not filed by this group. That's 0.001062 percent! I realize that this is not statistically correct, but let's be realistic. Look at what the media calls an outrage. How long can we as a society go on letting the media, headline-seeking politicians, or one small interest group, shape our lives.

"I have children myself, and I cannot morally agree with what took place, but I am even more outraged at the reaction that this has caused."

(Steve Z.)

"Your obvious support of ***, nudity, vulgarity, etc. without restraint to protect "free speech" and "freedom of expression" is absurd. And calling this garbage groundbreaking work is like calling Madonna's naked jog through a public park a free ballet.

"Shouldn't I be able to watch a sporting event with my son without a constant threat of being exposed to this stuff? We are eliminating decency and common sense under the guise of freedom and we will pay a hefty price.

"How can those who attempt to shock, gross out, or scare the living daylights out of people with vile, obscene, and downright evil material think they are doing a good thing? The only thing they are doing is making a quick buck for themselves at the expense of our children, families, and society. Face it, man has a perverse side and he is easily drawn to these things--why encourage it? Do we encourage an alcoholic to go to bars? A pedophile to run a day care?

"Of course, given your obsession with evolution, which you refer to in nearly every newsletter, there is no reason to have restrictions on behavior. Wake up! Has anyone noticed we are 'evolving' right into the sewer?"

(Randy A.)

Your call that "all freedom-loving Americans should be concerned" about censorship strikes a chord. Unfortunately it is not the one you want touched. Hollywood cares nothing about decency as the writers you present indicate. They want "freedom" to be more vile, vicious and sexual. Your answer is to shut off the TV, change the channel, etc. This only means that the free airwaves don't, in fact, belong to the public but only to those who are most vile, vicious and sexual. Instead of debasing society as you appear to want, free airwaves should be uplifting and contain material that all can watch. So censoring and forcing a change in behavior on Hollywood seems a completely desirable end. I stand for decency."

(Stephen K.R.)

"It is apparent to me in this country that our very moral structure is being attacked by atheist, the far left, and liberal biased media. You may think that those who oppose filth on television are wacko, but we believe in decency, morals, and clean living. It's a shame we can't promote these. I know, *** sells. We are driven by the almighty dollar. The interesting thing is that I have never seen anyone take any with them when they die. It might be that we are looking at the wrong set of values, and that is why good solid Christian people have had enough of this indecent material from Hollywood, TV, and magazines."

(Ken J.)

Posted 07-05-2005 4:23 PM by Doug Casey