Saturday, July 17, 2010

Don't mess with "legends"

If you were part of a social networking website (Facebook, 'cause I is a name-dropper) that refused to take down a page dedicated to a psychopathic lunatic—one of far too many people out there for whom a miscarriage would have been a blessing—that encouraged anti-police violence, and gave some semblance of creedence to the testosterone-soaked, thuggish culture that is flourishing in this country (Britain), wouldn't you be shocked?
Prime Minister David Cameron even demanded that the killer's digusting memorial page be removed, expressing his horror at it and enquiring of Facebook if it had any respect for the victims and the majority—or what I dearly hope is the majority—of the nation that felt nothing but revlusion for Raoul Moat and his crimes.
Raoul Moat is a former bouncer, a steroid-raging creature who shot dead his ex-girfriend and her new boyfriend, and nearly killed a policeman, who is now disabled as a result of his encounter with Moat.
Facebook refused. They responded that they did not care to get involved because everyone has the right to free expression. Isn't that just groovy? I wanted to see if there were any Charles Manson, Jon Venables or Josef Fritzl fan pages on Facebook, but I was too frightened to conduct that research. I feared the worst, which is to say, I was confident of finding them.
The lesson to be learned from this, apparently, is not that Facebook will allow any garbage to flourish on their site, but that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom doesn't support free speech. Bummer, man.
I announced that I was leaving Facebook in protest, and the support I received was nothing short of underwhelming. The cumulative response was something along the lines of what sort of fascist, authoritarian creep was I for denying such obviously outstanding citizens their right to free speech?
When I stated that I needed no lessons in defending free speech, taking into account my experience in helping to revive the student newspaper during my college days, and therefore no-one had better dare to lecture me about that subject, I was told, "It's got nothing to do with a dare, but everything to do with free speech." Brick wall, anyone? (This same wingnut accused me of being as bad as Moat because I support capital punishment. As I'm sure he would tell you, he deserves an award for that.)
I would, of course, tell you of any supportive replies I received if not for the fact that they were completely non-existent.
Thirty-thousand people expressed their total love and devotion to a paranoid killer, a monster, and that's of no concern whatsoever to these self-dubbed Voltaires. There is no line you can't cross these days, unless you're calling terrorists well, "terrorists." Then, lo and behold, we find that there is no such thing as free speech!
But making a heroic figure out of a murderous bully? Who cares? There are more important things to worry about, such as when will the next Strictly Come Dancing show be on and does KFC have a new range of sauces?
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by any of this, considering we're living in a society that thinks ass-crack is a fashion accessory.
The page did come down two days ago, but not through any official decision made by Facebook themselves. The creator of the site de-activated it. Turns out, whatever decent people are left in the world were harrassing and threatening her. So, citing personal safety concerns, she removed the page from the site. But she still feels that Mr. Moat is "legend" and hopes to re-activate the page if/when the furor dies down.
The good First Amendment stalwarts at Facebook, meanwhile, will still be operating out of their collective back passage while the Ted Bundy Love-In page attracts more than 100,000 admirers.