BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Wednesday, April 16, 2003


Hey. Sorry to those of you (all two of you) who have been checking this blog on a regular basis. Taxes, you know. God, do I hate them. However, I prayed to the tiny baby Jesus and he helped me find a few extra receipts for my 2106-EZ and my Schedule A, so I’m tanned, rested and ready to fight for your freedom.

Onward Christian soldiers.

Wanted to get some quick thoughts re: the whole Tim Robbins/Baseball Hall of Fame/Bull Durham thing. Don’t really need to jump all over (super yay-hoo) Dale Petroskey for playing partisan politics since every sportswriter worth a stitch has already done so. Nor will I jump on Petroskey for hosting an evening with ARI FLEISCHER at the Hall a few months ago. I would just like to take this opportunity to point out one of the comments I’ve heard (from the other side) regarding the cancellation of the above-mentioned event.

Let’s start with the (anti-Tim Robbins) quote from Murdoch’s NY Post:

“The First Amendment guarantees Americans the right to speak their mind. It does not, however, confer blanket immunity from the consequences of what we choose to say.

The hall has rightly concluded that millions of Americans would be offended if it gave two Hollywood twits a soapbox they otherwise wouldn't have had.

And that's its right under the First Amendment, too.”

Cool. There it is. Out in the open. In the King’s English. The conservative hard-line on “free speech.”

In other words…

“Sure, lefty, the First Amendment gives you the ‘right’ to say what you want, but if WE don’t like it, we will fuck you, especially if you exercise that ‘right’ on OUR property or, god forbid you be so stupid, on OUR dime.”

They’ve waited a long time to get the good old US of A on that particular track, and goddammit, we’re finally THERE, in a world where people will begin to worry about the CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR THOUGHTS, WORDS AND ACTIONS, even if said people believe they are “right.”

I’ve been listening to the Hannitys and Limabughs and O’Reillys this past week, and they’ve been SLAMMING that point home; again, you’re “free” to say what you want, but you’d better think before you speak because their will be consequences if you say things we don’t like, because we are the majority and we run the show.

You might remember that Ari Fleischer said the same thing to the White House press corps a number of times in the months BEFORE 9/11, back when reporters were writing stories about W’s “problems” with, oh, just about everything on a daily basis. Petroskey said as much in his letter to Tim Robbins when he wrote that Robbins had an “obligation to act and speak responsibly” during war-time.

(Right. I forgot. We’re at war.)

It’s a corporate world, folks, and a corporate world has corporate rules. “They’ve” worked very hard (especially in the last few decades) to make it so. Christ, they’ve been gobbling up land and companies and radio stations and television networks and newspapers by the black market truckloads to DO so. We are THERE, in a corporate world where it is extremely easy to marginalize open dissent (via the conservative media) and to keep potential dissent at bay with (petty) threats.

It’s simple. Just think about the heavy politics of the workplace. You can’t call your boss a scumbag (even if he is cheating on his wife and three kids with Donna the foxy temp) ‘coz you will get fired. And that would suck because a) you live from paycheck to paycheck and b) the thought of working a double shift at Starbuck’s makes you want to vomit.

“So don’t say anything.”

That’s what “they” want.

One used to be able to scream and yell about this, that and the other thing with “relative” freedom, but not on private property. And that’s where we’re going; trust me, they’re gonna make the whole damn country “private” and then they’re REALLY gonna clamp down. They’re doing it NOW. Clear Channel tells Ani Di Franco to keep her mouth shut before her concert in NY (they own they arena) OR ELSE. A Nashville PR exec loses her job because she uses the “company e-mail” to fire off a reply to Charlie Daniel’s (extremely retarded and misinformed) pro-war rant. Cops arrest anti-war protestors in Denver for trespassing on the “private property” in front of Halliburton. Heard of the “Free Speech Zones,” the fenced off areas for Bush protestors? Usually located about a mile from the PRIVATE PROPERTIES where W usually makes his (very scripted and staged) PUBLIC appearances? You go to jail if you protest outside those “free speech zones.” Don’t believe me? It has HAPPENED. (Do a Google search (“Bush” and “free speech zones”) if you’re interested.)

The list goes on and on and on.


I know one thing; people that inspire me could give a fuck about the consequences of their thoughts, words and actions, and aren’t afraid to speak up. Dylan, Lenny Bruce, King, Lennon, Zappa. The list is endless. (Even Janeane Garofalo, who’s been outstanding in the face of criticism because she continues to say, “I could care less. As long as my sister has an alarm company, I’ll be fine.”)


In the words of the great Minutemen (the group, not the crazed and hungry revolutionary militia), “IN A FREE LAND, WHAT DO I GET?”

In the words of the great Iron Maiden, “IF YOU’RE GONNA DIE, DIE WITH YOUR BOOTS ON.”

P.S. Some sportswriters have pointed out the sort of pro-active “Minority Report” aspect of this Hall of Fame mess (stopping someone BEFORE THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK UP) and that is something to think about.

P.S.S. Amy Goodman had a great interview with Robbins on today’s “Democracy Now” (4/16). Should be on their archives tomorrow.

P.S.S.S. Big thanks to the NY Post for using the term “twits” in an editorial.


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