Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-04-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWPOINTS Free Speech
by Kurt Niece
2012-09-19

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Speech comes with responsibility. Early on in life most of us are taught by means of gentle persuasion or violent response that words, like deeds, have consequence. A polite admonition or a punch in the nose can be the clear result of the power of words.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian living in Cerritos, Calif., is part of a group called the NACA, the National American Coptic Assembly. The organization is decidedly anti-Islamic, and apparently Nakoula decided to make a video voicing this opinion. The clip was posted July 2.

Originally, a fellow named Sam Bacile; an alleged Israeli-American real estate developer took credit for the highly amateurish YouTube clip. As the story unfolded though it was revealed that Sam Bacile is a pseudo name.

Furthermore, in an article published in The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg quotes Steve Klein, a man who claims to have been involved in the video's production. Klein is quoted as saying the film is not Israeli, and that Nakoula is not Jewish. Others report that the 80 cast and crew members hired for the film were misled about the true nature of Nakoula's intent, and that the audio portion of the 14 minute film was altered after production to insert anti-Islamic rhetoric.

So what does this all mean?

Words, rumor and innuendo spread like wildfire, especially when those words create havoc, murder and an international diplomatic nightmare. But, one indisputable truth remains.

A crude video production entitled "The Innocence of Muslims" originated in the United States. The film portrayed Mohammad as a womanizer, a homosexual and a child abuser. Clearly a womanizing/child-abusing gay man is at the least a colorful fictional character, but unfortunately the target audiences of die-hard Muslims aren't particularly well-suited for humor, irony or tolerance. The sixth-century Buddhas of Bamiyan are sad proof.

J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, is dead.

Tyronne Woods and Glen Doherty, former Navy SEALS died trying to protect their colleagues. A fourth U.S. resident, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, is dead as well.

Now, the conundrum: Did angry and irrational religious zealots murder these men or did Nakoula, the true incarnation of the man who produced the film that provoked the mob. Who is responsible for the murder of those U.S. citizens?

Obviously the mob was the sword. They did the murdering. But could it be argued that Nakoula was the hand wielding that sword?

For years it's been an accepted truth that one must not yell, "fire" in a crowded movie theater. In a case that had nothing to do with theater, the Espionage Act of 1917, it was successfully argued that the abridgment of free speech was on occasion permissible when free speech presented a "clear and present danger." Shouting "fire" in a movie theater became the prime example of the exception to first amendment rights.

Yelling "fire" or more precisely, knowing to not yell fire would seem to be a simple function of common sense, but common sense is often as rare as Bhuddas in Afghanistan.

We live at a time when the power of words is growing exponentially. The unbounded growth of social media and the worldwide platform of the World Wide Web know few limits. Huge soap-boxes and masses of irrational people are a volatile combination.

With all due respect to my religious friends, religion is, by definition, irrational. Any institution, large or small, that places faith before fact and reason is an easy mark and subject to manipulation. Faith is key to all religion and therefore, easy prey to those with the will to incite and an eye for mischief. Some religions are more primed for abuse than others, and it can't be denied that the fringe of Moslem religions is especially and rabidly intolerant.

But again, are other world religions at least partially responsible for fueling Muslim zealotry?

These are questions that really have no answer. The truth shifts with the perspective of the viewer. These questions do make for good dinner conversation and great debates, but when people die, the debate becomes more horrifying and less interesting.

We are all children at the end of the day—dangerous children with adult tools at our disposal. So when a cyberbully drives a teen to suicide or a would-be filmmaker incites a mob to violence, and when there is direct cause and effect, should there be a gentle admonition or a punch in the nose in response to the provoker's provocation?

Societies, in general, and journalists, in particular, have a lot to consider, especially now that anyone with a computer and an Internet connection is now effectively a journalist.

We are all journalists, and we must strive to choose our words carefully.

The theater is very real, and the threat of fire can be just as dangerous as the real thing.

Kurt Niece writes about visual arts and social commentary. He is a freelance journalist and author from Lakewood, Ohio.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

LETTERS Issues and answers 2015-04-22
VIEWS Conversion therapy's deadly outcomes 2015-04-22
VIEWS Writing For Justice: The dangerous myth of individualism 2015-04-15
VIEWS: MOMBIAN New edition enlivens 'Two Mommies' for families today 2015-04-15
Transforming Gender: The Edge of the Knife 2015-04-08
Larry Kramer: Thirty-four years and counting 2015-04-08
VIEWS In God we crust 2015-04-08
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Double standards 2015-04-07
Open To Thinking: On Religion 2015-04-01
VIEWS Paying tribute to Andrew Patner 2015-04-01
PASSAGES Former Chicagoan Stan Dale Boyer dies 2015-03-29
Reproductive Justice at the Intersections: Abortion access is an LGBT issue 2015-03-25
VIEWS The love that dare not speak its name 2015-03-25
Letters: Going for Garcia 2015-03-25
VIEWS Discrimination is not religious freedom 2015-03-18
LETTERS: A matter of money 2015-03-18
VIEWS Stunned in Selma 2015-03-14
Writing For Justice: Does voting actually matter? 2015-03-11
VIEWS Boston's forgotten role in the women's movement 2015-03-11
Open To Thinking: Remembering Selma 2015-03-04
VIEWS The second coming of the man who would be queen 2015-03-04
VIEWS Gay or not, polo harms horses 2015-03-04
VIEWS: MOMBIAN Equity in the doctor's office 2015-03-04
Transcending the Blacklist: Coalitions consist of distinct communities 2015-02-25
VIEWS A road map beyond Black History Month 2015-02-25
MARK MY WORDS Loss of a pioneer 2015-02-25
LETTERS Not cool for school 2015-02-18
VIEWS LGBT parenting is a reproductive justice issue 2015-02-18
Black Youth Project 100, changing world one meeting at a time 2015-02-11
VIEWS Remembering the Lovings this Valentine's Day 2015-02-11
VIEWS The case of Bruce Jenner, and our transphobia 2015-02-11
Open To Thinking: Satire and Freedom 2015-02-04
VIEWS Historic Black LGBTQ talk on 'Selma' takes place 2015-01-28
Letters to the editor: Bowled over 2015-01-28
VIEWS Martin Luther King Jr.'s expansive dream 2015-01-21
Open To Thinking: The Grand Jury and Civil Rights 2015-01-07
VIEWS The day after Christmas 2015-01-07
VIEWS How to be a better ally (from someone still learning) 2014-12-31
VIEWS MOMBIAN Seeking LGBTQ parents in history 2014-12-31
LETTERS Grants slippery slopes; Honoring Goerge? 2014-12-31
 



Copyright © 2015 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.