By Will Durst
After all the brouhaha in New York this week, this seems like a good time to have us a little chat about free speech. Not restricted free speech. Not partial free speech. Not pseudo-, semi-, counterfeit, limited free speech. Not free speech on Wednesdays between 2 and 3 p.m. EDT. Not free speech zones and not free speech reserved for the people we like and kept from the ones we don’t. No, my friends, I’m talking about your total, unfettered, full-throated, in your face, front row death metal rock concert, spitting in the wind, 24/7, every square inch of your big white furry butt, gushing like runoff from a rain gutter off a cantilevered roof during a force five hurricane in the tropics free speech.
There’s no whining about who gets to speak at what college. We’re supposed to be setting an example. Doesn’t matter out of which holes the free speech is coming. The mouths of an opposition politico or the biggest little two-bit dictator in the world or the personification of Lucifer himself replete with red horns and forked tail and cloven hooves. But let’s leave the vice president out of this one.
Everybody gets to say his piece. That’s the deal. Even if half the world considers that “piece” total BS. Face it, half of what we believe usually turns out to be total BS. Beliefs have this nagging tendency to mutate over time. It wasn’t long ago they burned people as witches for not thinking the world was flat. Wasn’t it Cardinal Richelieu who said treason is just a matter of dates?
The same way it is better to let 100 guilty people go free than convict one innocent person, it’s better we let 100 cretinous, fool, toad, buttwipes reveal themselves as boneheads, just so a safe platform for the idealistic visionary is guaranteed. Given enough rope, idiots are notoriously susceptible to hanging themselves from the noose of their own ridiculousness.
And yes, Mr. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I’m talking about you. Admittedly, you got a lousy intro at Colombia University, but when you agree to a Q & A, the general routine is to answer the questions you get asked. And yeah, OK, the crowd laughed at you, and no, you can’t execute them like the gays you say your country doesn’t have. Our crowds enjoy free speech too. Democracy is a bitch, isn’t it? And next time, for crum’s sake, wear a tie.
If free speech isn’t what this country is all about, what the hell are we fighting for? Free speech ain’t free. Oh wait a minute. Yeah, it is. As we witnessed at the U.N. when both Presidents Bush and Ahmadinejad got to exercise their rights on the same day. Think of it: On one hand you got a religious fanatic who sponsors secret prisons and has antagonized the entire world and on the other hand you got an Iranian. And you know why I get to say that? That’s right. I think you’re finally getting the hang of it.
Durst is performing in a solo show, “The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing,” off-Broadway at the New World Stages in New York through the end of October. Willdurst.com for more info.