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Commentary: Arizona law that would ban ‘trolling’ violates Bill of Rights

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This is the first part of ‘Jerry the Fly: Weirdness From Below,’ a weekly column about underground stuff that will run every Tuesday.

Greetings, readers of The Lantern, to a new column experience. Ours will be a dark and depraved journey into the heart of what is wrong (and hedonistically right) with the people on this planet, my downward spiral of chemical imbalances and opinions on current affairs unlikely to be voiced in any other modern news publication of this caliber.

Ah, to have opinions. It’s not good sense to have them in this business, let alone keep a permanent, public record of them. We’re a stolid bunch, journalists. “Stick to the facts,” we’re told.

But what then are we to do when we face a world of non-facts and glaring inconsistencies in the news-media that’s injected daily into our non-consenting consciousness? Well, my friends, when that time comes, we must look up to those of us with enough guff to throw aside what is accepted as fact and put down into ink what is really going on – damn the facts!

I can’t say I’ve enough guff in me, but I certainly have enough alcohol, and that’s the closest substitute, so here’s a non-fact, and one bound to reappear in “Jerry the Fly: Weirdness From Below” for as long as it’s allowed to endure: censorship is ungood.

Arizona has done it again, with yet another robotic, constitution-shredding, venus citizen-trap legislation: House Bill 2549. If signed by the governor, it will make it illegal to “troll” on the Internet in Arizona, effectively policing the Internet – and defiling the First Amendment – within the state.

As if webspace exists within state boundaries.

Now, don’t get me wrong, YouTube comments are about as intellectually stimulating as early 20th century prefrontal lobotomies, but, in the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall, in an attempt to sum up Voltaire’s principles, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Might I remind you of what the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

I was in a communication course here at Ohio State in which a shocking majority of students raised their hands in favor of censoring the news media, in regard to depictions of war victims and graphic war-scenes on television. To me, this is yet another sign of the impending implosion of our empire, and you should be very scared for your rights as a citizen.

I understand Benjamin Franklin and John Hancock didn’t have smartphones and Facebook on which they could have their pimply teenage dreams crushed by a fat guy with Cheeto stains on his undersized wifebeater who disagreed with their taste in music. But they were allowed to duel to the death over the ownership of their slaves, so unless your overlords in the Supreme Court bring that back – which I wouldn’t be surprised – I think we should leave this point behind.

In fact, most YouTube commenters are proof against evolution. But I will die for their right to exhale stupidity with every breath and keep our species from attaining enlightenment with pleasure, and furthermore, their right to produce micro-moronic babies to inhabit the local discotheques … except for YouTube user Nintendomaster Rafael, who said, “Arizona is gay!!!! No offense.”

If Arizona were gay, and it just might be, considering its attempts to prove just how macho it is (definitely overcompensating for something) it would be one thing, which I would be balls-to-the-wall in support of – because it’s my right to put them in whatever-gendered wall I want – but these gestapo-tactic laws are just another testament to the natural law of entropy.

Now, a quote from Philip K. Dick to make you a better human being: “The appropriate response to reality is to go insane.”

Lighten up, OSU. Reality’s only going to get worse from here.

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