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Free speech, but...

I'm a big believer in free speech.  I don't like political correctness and think that almost all types of speech, including hate speech, should be protected.  That doesn't mean that I support hate speech.  But, once you start drawing the line on any form of censorship, it becomes a real slippery slope.  One person's freedom cry is another person's treason.  If the government can decide which is which, then the government can't be challenged, even challenged to improve.

With all that said, this week's New Yorker cover disturbs me.  You can see a slide show of many poltical satire New Yorker covers on their web site.  In just about all of the covers, the satire is that the leaders are depicted as incompetent idiots.  The reader can decide if they agree with this.

However, the Obama cover above takes the 'terrorist fist bump' (man, is that ridiculous) and extends it to a terrorist image.  Does that mean that the reader gets to decide whether or not they think Obama is a terrorist?  And, this image includes a picture of Bin Laden over a fireplace with a burning American flag. 

No matter what you think of Obama or McCain, can you really question either one of them on patriotism?  You may not agree with where they want to take the country, but that doesn't mean that they want the country to fall.

So, as a free speech zealot, why does this cover bother me so much?  I think that it's because The New Yorker has a certain amount of credibility.  Also, the cover goes beyond satire in my opinion.  Now, I don't think that anyone should stop The New Yorker from being able to publish this.  But, Obama has decried this, and McCain agreed.  And, I hope that regular New Yorker readers express their outrage so that The New Yorker apologizes.  The only penalty that should be imposed on improper speech should be from the marketplace -- people who disagree shouldn't buy it.


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