Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Duke It Out

I learned a couple new things today. One, David Duke is a champion of free speech. I was thrilled to hear that because us “free speech types” need all the help we can get. When Wolf Blitzer asked him about the Iranian Holocaust Deniers’ Conference, Duke replied he was there because he was all for free speech. Wow, I didn’t know Teheran was the bastion of free speech in the Middle East. He kinda stumbled though when Blitzer asked him if he “hated Jews.” Duke complained about Blitzer’s introduction and went on about his earning a Ph.D., teaching at university (or was it college?) and having a successful book. Blitzer asked him again and it seemed it took him forever to say “No.” But he finally did, so I guess that puts that to rest.

Then I was on this radio show this morning and this woman said that Public access was a “luxury.” I’ve been in a lot of Public access stations and I wouldn’t exactly say they were luxurious. But then I’m thinking that if you’re the president of Iran you consider Public access to be a “luxury,” so I guess that lady has got that going for her, something in common with the president of Iran.

The David Dukes of the world have used their fair share of Public access. So too have the folks on the other side of the fence. What is that Brennan statement? The answer to speech you don’t like is more speech?

Here we are in the land of speech, speech and more speech. Seems everybody’s got something to say and they don’t mince words most times. Yet, the FCC, through its Chairman, Mr. Martin, takes up a rule-making that very well may endanger free speech. Their rule-making, proposing 90 day franchise negotiations, caps at 5%, no build-out requirements by new entrants, has a very real, very tangible and quantifiable, effect on how much speech or whether any speech, on cable systems will happen. At least non-corporate community speech. As you know, there’s plenty of corporate let us take you where we want you to go and tell you what you should be thinking, driving, eating, seeing, smelling, feeling, purging and wanting kind of speech. But it’s that other stuff, the stuff that comes out of passion or concern or silliness, that’s the speech that is under threat.

Somehow I’m not getting the “luxury” quotient behind that kind of speech.

Instead I get the necessary, needed, important, critical, fun, entertaining, sometimes life-saving quotient behind that kind of speech.

And can you imagine cameras in the Islamic Consultative Assembly or as they call it the Majles-e-Shura-ye-Eslami? Beaming to all the citizens, live real-time, down and dirty. Or perhaps educational courses on the Educational access channel, stuff like “Psychology 101” or “Women’s Studies” or “Human Behavior in a Ruthless-Holocaust Denying-Dictatorship”?

Didn’t think so.

So it’s that spider web thing where things are connected and trying to give humungous corporations a free ride whether it’s franchising or media consolidation or net-neutrality, eventually leads us to nowhere fast.

I think every Public access center in this country should call up David Duke and request an interview. I want to hear more. I mean what does this man have a Ph.D. in? Mendacity?

Word to Sepe: Thanks for reminding me...I've been sooooo busy lately...lots of battles out there.

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