Nov 21, 2012

Quote of the Day: Tam on the Flippy Lindsay Stone

Why do we "blog," people?

For attention, of course. Is it possible to find a "post" -- or, for that matter, any piece of writing, anywhere, in any medium -- which doesn't announce in one way or another, "See how cool I am?" Not to worry, fellow writers.  A sin so universal is no sin at all; like gravity, it is a natural fact, something to which we  accommodate ourselves.

But we use and abuse our keyboards for other reasons, causes beyond the human desire for one 15-minute period of personal fame after another.

In this libertarian-ish corner we emphasize mocking authoritarians. Strip the pretentious bastards bare.  Lock them in stocks on the village green. Joyfully invite public attention to their warty morals. It is a vital public service.

We have the good fortune to exist under a Constitution which protects our rights to the most forceful speech and gesture from criminal prosecution. This includes you and me calling President Obama ugly names, and it includes Lindsay Stone.

She's the thoughtless bitch who deemed it harmlessly cute to be photographed at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, flipping  off something or someone.  The internet made her famous, then infamous, and she slithered under the First Amendment blankie. That's her defense against being arrested, and I glory in the fact that she has it.

At the same time, I would shed no tears if Fortune punished her with a loathsome disease, perhaps severe adult-onset acne. Her attention must be engaged with the notion that some things, however legal, mark her as a thickhead whose taste and judgement ceased developing about the time she was potty trained.

Now, we can do only a little to alter the fact that obnoxious numbskulls exist among us and that the internet gives them power, or at least wide exposure.  But we should try. That's where discerning writers come in, encapsulating the concept in a couple dozen words which even Lindsay might one day understand.

It's the difference between lighting up next to a "NO SMOKING" sign, and lighting up next to a "NO SMOKING" sign in a pediatric lung cancer ward. One's rebellious, the other's reprehensible.


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