Permission to Speak ...
I attracted some attention in Milton's this afternoon when I had to laugh out loud so hard I nearly choked on a french fry. I had been flipping through a copy of the Alibi (Oct. 1-7 issue) for something to look at while I ate my lunch and happened to turn to the 11th page, which featured a, thankfully short, article as inaccurate as it was self-congratulatory, ironically entitled, "Permission to Speak Freely." Apparently, the Alibi has been granted a "First Amendment Award" by the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico for its (the Alibi's) efforts in defense of free speech. I can categorically state from personal experience, having been an active participant in the Alibi's online blog, that the editors of the Alibi will grant "permission to speak freely" only to those whose views mesh with their own. Those who offer opposing views will be shut off. Yes, for a while, my, often dissenting, views were tolerated, although I was subjected to personal attacks and childish name-calling, which went unnoticed by the editors until I was ultimately denied the ability to offer comment. The only reason given for my denial, by someone named "Jerry," was that I had committed the, apparently unpardonable, sin of claiming to be right. Let's face it, the Alibi is a shamelessly (or shamefully) liberal rag that will not tolerate opposing views and is about as committed to the First Amendment and "Permission to Speak Freely" as Attila the Hun might have been committed to sweetness, light and poetry.
Webmaster’s Note: I killed Hotrod, Mr. Durst's avatar on alibi.com, because he had become a troll (i.e., "someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion"). Let's be clear: This was a unilateral decision by me, the IT Overlord, which was in fact not at all popular with the editorial staff, who, like good liberals, raised serious objections regarding freedom of speech.
I didn't see it that way. For 10 months straight, Mr. Durst attempted to dominate discussions on the site, ultimately racking up over 50,000 words in 700-plus posts, methodically drowning out other participants. I felt more like I had ejected a drunk from a bar who kept harassing the patrons. And all his charm and eloquence is still there for everyone to see (http://bit.ly/O2A3M).
—Kyle Silfer, Systems Manager
Not So Simple
[Re: Letters, "The Don on Simplicity," Oct. 8-14] Don, Don, Don, Don ... As I’ve told you before, there is a lot to be said for a simple, no-hassle life of sewing seeds and singing songs, and I know you don’t drink, but if you can grow grapes and grain, I can make some wonderful libations out of them. I believe that is the life our creator intended.
However, I’m not Francis of Assisi, or Mother Teresa, and though I know poverty is a disgrace to all of humanity and it is time to put an end to it, I don’t believe that we can end poverty by everyone staying home, sewing seeds and singing songs.
If everybody suddenly decided at the same time to follow your lead, I would be watching for that evil-looking guy with the handbasket.
Every morning I wake up feeling blessed to have been born in the United States of America, the wealthiest nation on Earth. Yeah, we have a poverty problem here, too, but here we also have the opportunity to pull ourselves up and out of it. The more income one generates, the more one can give away to shelters, food banks, fighting childhood diseases, etc. and morally should.
Self-denial isn’t the answer to worldwide or even local poverty, Don. I’m not real sure that throwing money at the problem is the answer, either, but mixed with education, and showing folks how to fish, it makes more sense to me than self-denial.
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.