Tuesday, 31 March 2015


Recently a former actress by the name of Ashley Judd, who incidentally appeared nude in each of her remotely memorable roles, was on social media and accused opponents of her alma mater’s basketball team of cheating. While such verbiage is the common and even expected grousing during such matches, reaction to her general mantra “We wuz robbed!” came swift and withering.

Apparently several users of the Twitter messaging system were unconvinced Miss Judd was qualified to determine whether unsportsmanlike conduct had occurred and proceeded to let her know so using a variety of colorful metaphors. Her emotions in tatters, she appeared on national television to pan for cameras and unambiguously state in her sassiest tone, “…and by the way I am pressing charges!”

Throughout the land a legion of millionaires from Fox’s Bill O’Reilly to MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart nodded in agreement; they being the types who can afford free speech protection even absent that explicitly granted mere plebeians by the Constitution.

Now far be it from me to dish unsubstantiated Hollywood gossip or unproven rumors in discussing Judd, even though her odd public behavior would tend to lend gravity to speculation. If she has previously been physically abused as she claims then some psychological trauma should be anticipated. Thus I tend not to cast stones upon those whose private experiences I do not fully comprehend.

That is, until aforementioned half-baked intellectually unstable miscreants attempt to unilaterally revoke the First Amendment. In that eventuality they should expect me to drop Plymouth Rock directly upon their overexposed noggins.

To be entirely candid I do have a modicum of empathy for crazy (probable cat-lady) Ashley Judd. Having written approximately 200,000 published words the past few years, among many accolades there have been more than a few derogatory jibes. To wit I have been called a “fool,” “ignorant,” “stupid,” told to “mind my own business,” named a “bitch” (for some reason), and, as everyone everywhere in America, been told I am a “racist” despite readers having absolutely no idea what is my actual race or ethnicity.

Yet unlike Judd, I relish these compliments. First, it means someone read what I wrote. Second, it means they cared enough to take the time to answer. Third, and to my view most importantly, it made them feel something about the issue. To have the privilege of anyone bothering for an instant what I think is such a gratifying enigma as to far outweigh any negativity that might ensue.

Aside from which is my strong conviction once a column is published I have had my say and any comments made thereupon are the just due of those who pause to peruse it. Or, in other words, time for me to sit down and let everyone else have the chance to speak.

Of course, to scan the vitriol directed at Miss Ashley is a fearsome thing indeed. Some of the language is undoubtedly harsh. An extremely limited amount may genuinely be illegal. However most of it is nothing more than people venting. Contrary to popular belief, the internet is not run by computers but is in truth one giant steam engine; largely powered by people blowing it off.

Moreover, much of what recipients of unkind remarks ascribe as illegal is in fact perfectly law-abiding. Someone texting to the actress, “You should be raped” is likely not illegal although typing “I am going to rape you” may be. Likewise sending a tweet such as “Anal, Anal, Anal” is hardly a threat given that word has morphed in the past two decades into slang for overly precise; this generation’s version of “nit-picky.” Lastly, unless our fading star can prove the sender calling her a “whore” meant it in the strictly professional sense it is permissible.

All of which is not to mention the jackass in the room, that being our “public figure” protection for speakers. Ever since Jerry Falwell lost his lawsuit against Hustler magazine for describing him practicing carnal love with his own mother in an outhouse, there has been an exceedingly narrow reading of what constitutes emotional harm to celebrities. Even as far back as 1964 actual malice was required in cases.

Whether one agrees with this interpretation of the Constitution or not, this has prevailed over half a century. Absent some outrageous act more serious than name-calling, Ashley Judd isn’t going to alter it.

Perhaps the worst characteristic of this tempest in a tweetstorm is that Judd’s fervent ire takes away from far more serious incidents. Where was she a few years ago when Vanity Fair published the home address of Rush Limbaugh? Does she denounce the ongoing assaults upon disseminated private residences of expelled University of Oklahoma fraternity members? Or are these the “right” kind of public figures to put in mortal danger?

However I am nothing if not helpful to my fellow man. If Ashley Judd wants to be coddled from the harsh light of the klieg lamps compiled below is a list of destinations which would happily accept her under the condition she shut her fool mouth and obey their authoritarian governments.

Number One: China. These people are so afraid of hurt feelings they go to any length to protect their charges. Tiananmen Square? It’s in China but don’t go looking online to see if anything unseemly ever happened there. The Cultural Revolution? Well, you might get a great deal on the “glorious” aspects but don’t query search engines about the Four Olds or what happened to those who believed in them. Hong Kong? You can find it on a map rather easily but mustn’t add “student protests” to your browser.

"You forgot your Bible."
Number Two: North Korea. They were a close second but missed the top prize based on sheer numbers alone. Still the leaders of this scrappy little country are certainly motivated to protect you from disturbing speech. Should you visit the capital and find a Bible in your hotel room they’ll not only sentence the person who left it there to years of hard labor they might even do you the benefit of beating out of your mind anything you read inside… so you won’t be troubled by subversive concepts such as tolerance for opinions or beliefs not your own.

Number Three: The entire Middle East. The fine folks of Arabia, et al. are awarded third place because these slackers fail to be equal-opportunity protectors. For example, if you are wealthy (and, it goes without saying, male) you need but cross the nearest border to begin drinking and whoring it up with slave-prostitutes from Asia and anywhere else unfortunates are so poor they sell their bodies to feed their families. Yet if you are a woman they’ll immediately enforce the Judd Doctrine of Injured Pride by barring females from driving so as not to be abused by “road rage,” keep you indoors unless you wear a full-length burka to protect you from “body shaming,” as well as help you avoid the indignity of a rape trial by stoning you to death so you won’t have to face your accuser on the stand.

Ah yes, the globe is full of places to protect the likes of Ashley. That rich diversity I refer to as “anywhere not philosophically Western” which encompasses the vast majority of the unwashed of this world and seems to delight in aggressively enforcing its protection racket against the impoverished and powerless by keeping them virtually voiceless.

So I invite Miss Judd to depart forthwith. Hers is too sensitive a heart to suffer the slings and arrows of free people speaking freely. Liberty is an adult game and poor little tots like her are apt to scrape their knees playing. It would be best for all concerned that she not try to alter our way of life and find those greener pastures more suited to her delicate nature. Therefore I most decorously intone, “Good riddance you insipid, execrably filthy, possibly addled, mindlessly ungrateful brat.”

And now…let the hate commence!

Guy Somerset writes from somewhere in America. He is a lawyer by profession.

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