Oh, lordy, lordy, good Gordie. What is it with all these Yankee Doodle Dumbasses flying down to Venezuela to pontificate–unimpeded and, strangely, unarrested–about how there’s no free speech in that country? Or that free speech is under attack there? Or (insert other ignorant “free speech” blather here)?Yes, folks, it’s happened again. This week’s booby-prize winner is none other than Spike Lee–of whom, frankly, one expects much better things than this:
Of course, he would have to pick Venezuela, of all countries, to say that. And of course, he would have to say it right as Globovisión–Venezuela’s shittiest right-wing commercial channel–is coming under well-deserved fire for lying to the people, and for advocating treason and assassination and fascism. (It was one of four major TV channels all advocating for the coup of April 2002, just so’s you know. All of which are still broadcasting, although one–RCTV–is now limited to cable and satellite. Its public-airwaves licence was not renewed, owing to numerous violations of Venezuelan broadcast law–many of them dating back long before Chavecito.)And of course, he would have to say it, coming as he does from a country that has yanked broadcast licences for much, much lesser offences than Globovisión’s crimes, as well as busting its own people for exercising their own free speech. (I’m not talking here about racists and Nazis–their speech, ironically, is protected as “free”. I’m talking about pacifists. I’m talking about feminists. I’m talking about leftists. I’m talking, in short, about everything that isn’t a racist or a Nazi in the US.)So, here’s MY free speech, freely exercised in defence of the right thing, and in denunciation of bullshit:Hey Spike, why did you say that in Venezuela? What a dumb-ass thing to do. Why don’t you go say that in Honduras? It’s a much more appropriate venue. They’re throwing Venezuelan journalists out of there for exercising not only their freedom of speech, but for supporting it in transmitting the voices of ordinary Hondurans, too. I’m talking here about the journalists of VTV and Telesur, the only channels in all of Latin America that have the cojones to call the coup by its right name, and to transmit pictures the “freedom-loving” coupmongers don’t want the rest of the world to see. For that matter, Spike, if you wanna see how free-speechy your own country really is, just run down Pennsylvania Avenue screaming “Death to the president!” at the top of your lungs. See how far you get with it.Or, hey…just yell “FIRE!” in a crowded theatre, preferably while one of your own films is showing. See how much applause you get for that exercise of your lungs.Are those things legal where YOU live, Spike? No? What a surprise. Where I come from, uttering death threats isn’t protected speech. Neither is racism, or sexism, or any other form of bigotry. Nor is yelling “fire” when there’s no fire in the building. Here in Canada, stations have lost their broadcast licences for failing to comply with national broadcast standards. And believe it or not, I’m 100% okay with all of that. I don’t consider any of those things to be infringements on my freedom or anyone else’s. Where I come from, the right to swing a fist ends where the next person’s nose begins. Up here, only the Nazis scream “fascism” when someone deprives them of the privilege (which is not a right) of oppressing others. Which is quite an irony when you think about it. But such is life in a free country, and Venezuela is, after 40 years of fake democracy, finally free. It has been for the last ten years, when the people themselves rewrote and ratified its constitution. It was they who decided it was a crime to threaten an elected president with death, a crime to forcibly remove him from power and spirit him out of the country, a crime to openly advocate for those things. In that, they’ve gone your country and mine one better. They exercised their freedom of speech to create, protect and defend their own democracy. They have a perfect right, therefore, to remove from the airwaves any station that offends against that democracy. That shit is NOT free speech, unless you’re a fascist or an idiot.So, Spike, how’s about you think about it? Inform yourself as to what’s really going on in Venezuela, compare it to what’s already happened to various stations all over North America and Europe (without any “free speech” hullabaloo!), and if you’re gonna talk about a free press, do it in Honduras. Or in Colombia. That’s where the real crying need for free speech is right now.Go on, Spike. Do the right thing for real.PS: YVKE Mundial reports that Spike “would like to meet President Chávez”. Funny how that never made it into the Dissociated Press’s very slanted (read: anti-Venezuelan) piece. Hmmm, do you think someone’s using him for propaganda? And Spike, maybe you should do like you said to the Venezuelans to do–attack them using your own voice. Would be a good idea, no?
The director didn’t directly refer to the dispute in Venezuela, but he said there are “no circumstances” under which news media should be silenced.Visiting to screen his 1989 film “Do The Right Thing” and met with fans to discuss race relations, his career and the late Michael Jackson, Lee said he is “a firm believer in freedom of speech.”“It’s my opinion that there are no circumstances where the media should be shut down,” he said to loud applause. “I’m not talking about any country specifically, but globally.”