Friday, February 25, 2011

Censors and Thugs

An advertisement company has pulled an anti-abortion billboard that some people found offensive.

The advertisement showed a young African-American girl and contained the statement, "The most dangerous place for an African-American is in the womb."

(See: Ad company pulls NYC anti-abortion billboard)

The reason that the advertisement was pulled?

A spokesman for Louisiana-based Lamar Advertising, Hal Kilshaw, said that while the company respects the right to freedom of expression, the decision to take down the billboard Thursday night was for "public safety." He said waiters and waitresses at a restaurant in the building where the billboard was placed had been harassed.

so, here's the lesson. If you want to control what people see and hear, the thing to do is to harass innocent people who have nothing to do with the message that you object to.

Certainly, this is not the type of behavior that we should be rewarding.

Which is exactly what this does. A group of people engage in the practice of harassing innocent people, and they are rewarded with giving them that which they desire. This, in turn, promises to not only encourage them to engage in this type of behavior in the future, but will encourage others to do so as well.

That's not going to make the world a better place.

I am not saying that there was no legitimate reason for criticism of the sign. The objection to the sign was that it "demonized black women". In a sense, this is true. It made the claim that the reason that these abortions were taking place was primarily due to the race of the person having the abortion - as opposed, say, to the income levels.

But, then, a sign saying that "the most dangerous place for a child of impoverished parents is in the womb" would not likely have had the desired effect. So, those who purchased the sign focused on race instead of income.

What I am saying is that legitimate criticism does include harassing the people who are working near the place where the message was displayed. that is not a member of the set "legitimate criticism".

In fact, it is a member of the ship "censorship".

If the actual intent of these thugs was to get the sign pulled down by their behavior, then they are censors. They have taken it upon themselves to use violence to determine what it is we may read.

Another possibility is that they were just thugs, lacking a common decency with respect to how they treat others, so, when they find something to protest, take their feelings out on the nearest person, innocent or guilty. This, in turn, happened to get the sign pulled.

Either way, we should not be catering to the desires of censors or thugs by rewarding their behavior. We do not need more censors and thugs (the effect that rewards bring), we need fewer. So, the proper response is to condemn the censors and thugs, not appease them.

1 comment:

Kudo said...

I heard that it was pulled because Al Sharpton complained. Also, the mother of the girl complained about the use of her daugher's photo without permission.

I'm sure the advertisers could care less about waitresses/waiters being harassed.