Prejudice, Censorship and That F******g, C*****g First Amendment

Yesterday in London, a trashy, ignorant, racist, socially-dysfunctional chav was arrested after this video clip (NSFW) was forwarded to London Transport Police, who actually enlisted the help of the media in tracking this dumb bitch down. She was arrested because of a “racially aggravated public order offence”. Yes, you can be arrested for verbal assault (aka being a twat).

In the US, she would be able to get away with saying this and more. Why? Because arresting her for being a racist cunt would be a form of censorship, and censorship is against the fucking First Amendment, which protects her right to free hate speech, no matter how stupid her shitty views are.

It’s comforting to know that the police will look out for things like this in the UK, as opposed to, say, forcibly and illegally strip-searching women in the USA.

But it seems that the Americans like to pick and choose which parts of “free speech” they’d like to allow. For example, in the UK, we can hear swearing, watch naked people and see gratuitious violence at varying levels from 8pm onwards, on normal, non-cable television, with the proper nasty stuff (18-rated; horror; softcore porno) being broadcast after 10pm. Meaning, unless you installed special software on your TiVo or enabled a parental lock on your set-top box, your 6-year old will learn where babies come from and what happens if you drink a flesh-dissolving soda while sitting on the toilet (do not click this), i.e. it’s your own damn responsibility to have some common sense about what your kids should be watching.

A few years ago when I was visiting Salem but not living here, I was surprised to see that The Shining was on the Sci-Fi channel at around 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. You know, when kids would be home to watch a super-disturbing movie like this, on a TV channel that requires no parental PIN-entering. Naturally I assumed that it would be cut somehow, although there is more to making that movie scary than gore. My assumptions were somewhat confirmed when, during the scene where Jack meets the naked woman, they cut out any angles of the woman (both young and old) being naked, which essentially meant cutting out almost the whole scene entirely.

It then became confusing that a few minutes later, they still showed the horrific flash-images of the mangled corpses of the twin ghost girls in the hallway, with the bloodstained axe and walls. Such a chilling, disturbing image, that I can’t even bring myself to post an link to it for anyone who’s unfamiliar with it.

I thought maybe it was a mistake. But after seeing subsequent movies on a number of channels, it seemed to be the widespread thing that you can show blood and guts on TV, but not any naked people, sex or swearing (not even “damn”). This is natural, considering that sex will kill you and guns are important to apparently defend yourself,  according to one of those other Amendments.

In the UK, it’s pretty clear-cut where censorship has a place. If a radio DJ slips up and swears on-air, they are either reprimanded or fined. It’s not the end of the world. If they harass and embarrass someone with some vulgar, personally-offensive language, then they’ll either be fired, fined or quit to save face. There’s a line, and most of us are smart enough to get it. Over here in the US, it takes an enormous effort to even get someone who blatantly said huge amounts of disgustingly racist crap over such a long period of time to be fired.

Surprisingly, I have not been a victim of any form of racial prejudice here, possibly due to the fact that no-one can tell what ethnicity I am. Massachusetts is liberal enough to allow gays to get married and women to vote, but still American enough to allow people like this to roam the streets, people like this (up until 2011) to be on TV, or people like this useless, inbred merkin to exist.

To avoid censorship, I guess it depends on who you know. Some just don’t make it.

Every October in Salem, the Jesus freaks show up. They hold up signs saying “God hates f*gs” and will tell you that anyone who has sex, drinks alcohol and gambles is going to hell (that’s all of us, then). But they don’t stop there – they know such unknowable secrets like the fact that Mother Theresa almost certainly went to hell because she worked with and consoled AIDS victims, and of course, everyone knows that only gay people have AIDS, and of course, gay people are evil because think of the children!

(and they have the nerve to call anyone looking vaguely South Asian a terrorist)

The first time I saw those people, I thought it was some kind of joke. It was October, it was in the middle of the day, so I was quite drunk. My husband advised me that no, they really were serious, and they were legally allowed to be there, with huge signs and loud megaphones, and they will talk over you and tweak (heh) their speakers to disable you with piercing feedback sounds, Daredevil-style.

The lesson learned is that it’s OK to harass, bully and mock pretty much anyone you want (but it’s exceptionally fashionable to do it to Muslims). Ignore the fact that in the UK you would be arrested and charged under the Public Order Act 1986 – which outlaws any form of racist, homophobic or other oppressive expression designed to cause offence – because you are able to live in a country that instead, outlaws being able to see Janet Jackson‘s tits on telly.

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