Culture

Blocking me is censoring my freedom of speech

April 19, 2018

Reflections from an Internet troll.

Political climates are constantly in flux, but satire is forever. We took a moment to imagine what’s going on when you peel back the psyche of that incessant voice on the other side of the screen.

As we all know, freedom of speech means never having to say you’re sorry, or face any consequences for your words and actions. So you can imagine my surprise when I recently discovered that I, an intellectual, could be blocked on social media.

Never mind that defences premised on “free speech” have a well-documented history in North America of being a cover for reactionary and violent points of view. And never mind that, if our free speech laws make ample space for openly genocidal groups to organize in public space and threaten whole communities en masse, that may be an indication that they should be examined and re-interpreted, rather than doubled down on. And never mind that the intentional suppression of genocidal imagery and rhetoric is an integral part of resolving historically-rooted conflicts with significantly lasting legacies. And especially never mind that most columnists and publications that bemoan a lack of “ideological diversity” among progressives themselves rarely feature, let alone support, columnists with vocally anti-racist or socialist points of view!

Look, I’m a simple, straight-shooting, no-nonsense kind of person, and I love intellectual debates devoid of emotional interference! On top of that, I’m also a blue-checkmark journalist with an established five-to-ten-year-long career and an open disdain for anything that challenges my well-regarded opinions on everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, to my creepily unfailing support for racist pseudoscience conspiracy theories.

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Most importantly, though, I’m a bit of an expert in constitutional law. And I’m here to say that it’s literally illegal to not read my articles. In fact, it’s also an illegal violation of my constitutional rights if you don’t indulge me in every argument I make, including when I ask you to cite your sources even when I refuse to do the same. If you block me on Twitter? That’s also illegal. And if you swipe left on me on Tinder? You’re going right to jail.

Sure, maybe I’ve gone on record once or twice with wildly violent and unresearched, yet completely “objective” statements. Maybe you misunderstood the irony in my voice when you heard me say that thing about Jewish people! It’s OK if you don’t understand irony—I can explain it to you in your Twitter mentions. You just need to unblock me first!

Trust me: I’ve read 1984, and I’m pretty sure that makes me a respected political commentator, or at the very least, a cultural critic. This makes me uniquely qualified to speak at universities and write for international publications, and if you disagree, well then that makes you just as bad as me.

I think we all agree that freedom of speech is the most important thing to protect in society — even if it comes at the expense of public safety, or if applied unevenly, which luckily never happens. In fact, I find that very notion so ridiculous that I refuse to hear any evidence regarding that subject, and if you try to tell me otherwise, I’ll block you.

But hey, don’t debate me on it. Those are just the facts, which you would understand if you really cared about freedom.

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