In the wake of the Bubba the Love Sponge trial for defamation, Bill O’Shaughnessy reminds us that sometimes free speech isn’t free. While technically not a First Amendment case, it was a civil action after all, the trial did raise the specter of using the law and the court system as a way to intimidate or silence those that we dislike or disagree with. Here is O’Shaughnessy’s paean to the triumph of justice in Tampa.
Words that are sweet, awkward, horrific, barely audible, obscene, political, clumsy, uncomfortable, sexy, crude, inarticulate, cutting, just plain silly, x-rated, excessive, dangerous, insulting, serious, scintillating, disappointing, discursive, provocative, disgusting, vulgar, disjointed, unfair, dismissive, inappropriate, stupid, uninhibited, risqué, droll, suggestive, dull, soothing, exhilarating, tormented, slanted, ferocious, coarse, halting, anti-religious, harmful to the community, revolting, humorous, improper, amoral, oneiric, dreary, dolorous, noble, brave, ignoble, resolute, doughty, biased, alliterative, inappropriate, immoral, sacrilegious, un-American, anarchistic, in error, sexual, inane, cutting edge, incendiary, not serious, appropriate, incorrect, lusty, offensive, insane, passionate, inspiring, beyond the pale, jumbled, florid, long-winded, loud, blunt, lyrical, meaningless, chaste, suggestive, charming, scary, moral, nutty, desperate, out of bounds, over the top, overblown, pedantic, pointed, pointless, popular, prurient, pungent, rambling, raucous, religious, ribald, dissonant, rough, serene, sloppy, inartful, soaring, sublime, bawdy, subtle, thoughtful, indecent, truthful, unclear, nasty, unpleasant, unpopular, vague, witty are all part of the essential language of America.
All of it. By all of us.