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Jeff Jarvis Bitchslaps Brent Bozell
Brent Bozell, like Michael Powell, is vying to be the mommy of us all, with an attack on our freedoms combined with a personal attack on Jeff Jarvis. Jarvis comes to our rescue:

And I am an American but you do not speak for me. This is a nation built on free speech and a belief in tolerance and the value of the marketplace of ideas and the blessing of diversity. You are against all that. You try to stop the rest of us from watching what you think we should not watch. You disdain and condemn your fellow Americans and our culture because it does not match your idea of what it should be. That, sir, seems distinctly unAmerican to me.

You think you have some God-given right to tell us what we should and should not do. You do not.

But you know what? I think you should be able to watch whatever you want to watch, even if it is the 700 Club with its hate and homophobia. I would not presume to try to get it taken off the air for hate speech. I simply turn the channel. You should do the same.

And so now I'll get to the second fisking in two days (that's fisking not fisting, sir, a bloggers' word; please call off your complaint factory) with my response to King Prig. Note that I cannot do this on Bozell's site because he does not allow comments. I've already had a dialogue with one of his people in my comments and I continue that here because, Bozell, I'm an American and I believe in the free marketplace of ideas. So, to Bozell's "column":

Ever since exit-pollsters discovered a significant chunk of voters were casting their ballots based on which candidate stood for moral values - and most of those who chose that reason for their vote said they picked Republicans - the Hollywood crowd has tried to pick the idea apart, as conflicted, even ridiculous.

This is fun already. First, you know damned well -- oops, goshdarned well -- that exit poll in question was full of crap. In fact, you know what should really scare you (based on your own skewed mathematical analysis below): It should scare you that 100 percent of voters did not say they valued moral values. What about those other 78 percent, Brent? Are they all Democrats?

But, of course, the real truth is that all 100 percent of those voters do have moral values and value morals; they simply don't all have your moral values. And that is what makes America great. That is why this country was founded. That is the essence of America.

For you to say as you do here that morality = GOP is the clearest indication of your true agenda.

The anything-goes gang is suggesting we live in a pretty hypocritical country if we can profess our desire for moral leadership and make our number-one smash on television the ABC smut soap "Desperate Housewives."

You call it a smut soap. I call it a fun show. Fine. You change the channel and I won't. That's why we have tons of channels now. Go enjoy something else. Watch Bambi. I'll watch Desperate Housewives. Just leave me alone and we're both happy. Oh, but you don't want to leave me alone. You want to tell me what I can and cannot watch. I keep forgetting. You're our self-appointed censor. The unAmerican.

Posted by aalkon at December 6, 2004 8:08 AM


If everyone owns a fraction of the airwaves, just as they own a fraction of the congress or a fraction of the national forest, they certainly have the right to speak about how money gets made on their spectra.

Posted by: Cridland at December 7, 2004 12:34 AM

No, Crid, they don't have a right to control what's on the airwaves, because (if they "own" anything at all -- and I'm not sure that they do) their ownership is tiny. We're supposed to have free markets. We don't. We have nanny markets. Aside from PBS, no network is federally funded. PBS shouldn't be.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 7, 2004 1:39 AM

Me: "the right to speak about how money gets made on their spectra"

Amy: "a right to control what's on the airwaves"

First, I claim the superior liberal position. Ta-da, etc. Second, we don't get to choose when other people feel their interests are being violated.

Posted by: Cridland at December 7, 2004 3:23 AM

OK, 98% of complaints coming from one particular group is inane... But we should not be arguing as if it was all about our own exquisite taste.

Posted by: Cridland at December 7, 2004 5:53 AM

It's all about freedom of speech. Somebody doesn't like it, they can wear earmuffs. Or choose to not buy Hustler.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 7, 2004 6:08 AM

Of course, then you'd miss articles by me -- last month, on lying, and this month: a data-based defense of porn. Freedom of speech is not a matter of taste, Crid. Cohen v. California, 1971: "One man's profanity is another man's lyric statement." Or something like that. By the Supremes. The ones in the black robes, that is.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 7, 2004 6:10 AM

> Freedom of speech is not a matter of taste,

Yer tellin' me! Listen, imagine that Hustler was published with a civic resource of some kind, free paper from a public mill. Would you then allow a peron to complain..

You're never, ever going to take this point, are you? As long the material in question doesn't escape your taste for what's persmissable, NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED TO COMPLAIN.

Posted by: Cridland at December 7, 2004 5:03 PM

Amy, I'm nonplused by your comments about NPR. Compared to the wasteland out there NPR is an oasis. I support it to the extent I am able but without the tiny Fed. support NPR would shrink into irrelevance. Would you have it fade away on principle?

Posted by: Rojak at December 8, 2004 4:26 PM

Say yes, Amy, tell him yes!

Posted by: Cridland at December 8, 2004 5:04 PM

Fade away "on principle"? What is that supposed to mean? If NPR can't support itself without the government, it should get advertisers to fund it. Why SHOULD taxpayers pay for NPR? If it's not good enough to float without government charity (read: robbing people of their tax dollars), it shouldn't survive.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 8, 2004 5:29 PM