Author Topic: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways  (Read 7847 times)

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Offline Ambassador Pony

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #58 on: September 20, 2012, 06:02:00 AM »
Quote
I did not watch the subsequent video, but it seems to me that Hitchens was demonstrating how limits on freedom of expression can be used to further marginalize the disenfranchised, and to limit dialogue on controversial subjects.  It would have been interesting to hear him respond to an example of a form of speech which does not allow dialogue, (such as a poster, financed by a powerful group) designed to further marginalize a disenfranchised minority. 


It's just slower dialogue. At some point, someone will respond to the message, hopefully making productive use of their right to free expression. 
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Offline Timo

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #59 on: September 20, 2012, 06:26:39 AM »
@Anfauglir

No disrespect, but I don't think you're at all dealing with any of the arguments at hand.  As a society, we've long recognized that things like billboards and bus advertisements occupy a different place in our thinking about the first amendment than do other forms of speech.  By their very nature, they are rightfully seen as being subject to more state intervention than other forms of advertisement or speech more broadly.

The long and short of it for me is this.  You can say whatever you want to say in this society, but you are not entitled to say it on an ad placed in a mass transit system.  As I've already stated, Lehman v. Shaker Heights holds that mass transit need not serve as a public forum.  The question here is whether or not the transit authority in New York was being fair in the application of its rules, not whether or not the transit authority had the legal right to make rules regarding advertisements in the first place.  Under different circumstances they could have easily barred the group from posting ads.  If they were to have a policy that limited advertisements to commercial ads, as Santa Monica does, this would not have been an issue.  If, somehow, their transit system was able to survive without advertisements then they wouldn't have had to run the ad.

But maybe this is all my way of finding a possible and perhaps legally dubious reason for objecting to the free speech angle.  Honestly, I gather that most of this board is white.  As such, I sometimes wonder how many of you understand exactly what it's like to be told that you're inferior by virtue of the fact of your ethnicity.  And I wonder if you would understand what it would mean to be told that every time you get on a bus because you have the misfortune to have to, as HAL sees it, "seek out" public transportation.  Maybe I'm overstating this, but I can't imagine being asked to tolerate dealing with ads on the bus that I take to work or that I take to school every day calling me a "savage" and lionizing the people that forced my family off its land as the "civilized."  I mean look, I know a lot of Palestinians.  (Ramallah, what what?) This isn't exactly abstract for me.  And being both a Negro and a Latino, I know that when the racists start talking about the dreaded Muslims, it's not too long before they get to niggers and spics.[1]  White atheists, and white homosexuals get a good taste of this too.  And I would think that they'd be more empathetic. 

I'm just throwing this out there.  I mean, you can look at this ad and tell me that maybe I need to like grow up or whatever.  That I'm too thin skinned.  But I just can't imagine being a Palestinian in NYC and having to explain this ad to my child that takes the train to school every day, as my father did going from Queens to Brooklyn in the 70s.  Who knows though?  Maybe he'd have been cool with an ad calling Puerto Ricans savages.
 1. Incedently, an American-Israeli writer, Gershom Gorenberg, posited that American Jews will continue to vote for Democrats because they recognize that, as an ethnic and religious minority, their interest is in maintaining a pluralistic society.  That kind of makes complete sense to me.
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #60 on: September 20, 2012, 07:18:22 AM »
Honestly, I gather that most of this board is white.

I am...

Quote
As such, I sometimes wonder how many of you understand exactly what it's like to be told that you're inferior by virtue of the fact of your ethnicity.

...and I do.  I was born and raised in Honolulu, so I know exactly what it's like to grow up being told that and having the concept essentially institutionalized throughout all of society.
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Offline Timo

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #61 on: September 20, 2012, 07:25:17 AM »
Indeed. 

That's a caveat I meant to make as my other footnote in that post.  I've known some white folks that grew up in Black and/or Latino neighborhoods that were treated as if their name was "white boy/girl."  I have some conflicting feelings about this sort of group because, on the one hand, they do have access to some of the privilege that being white offers, but on the other they grew up in the same sorts of institutions that a lot of black and brown folks did.  Whatever institutional failures we've dealt with, they've dealt with.  And more to the point here, they definitely have an understanding of what it's like to be a minority, even if the US at large is a majority white nation.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #62 on: September 20, 2012, 07:40:33 AM »
.....You can say whatever you want to say in this society, but you are not entitled to say it on an ad placed in a mass transit system......maybe this is all my way of finding a possible and perhaps legally dubious reason for objecting to the free speech angle. 

With all due respect, I think so.  Just because that board is in a public facility does not make it "wrong", while a board in one's front window with the same message would not suddenly be "right" - one may currently be legal, the other not, but either the message itself is one that should never be spoken/printed, or it is not.  It's precisely this distinction between public and private spheres that causes issues and the legal wrangling there has been over this issue.  If the message is wrong, then you do not put it up or voice it ANYWHERE where other people can see or hear it, it doesn't suddenly become acceptable because I paint it on my wall, rather than put it on the side of a communal bus.

Honestly, I gather that most of this board is white.  As such, I sometimes wonder how many of you understand exactly what it's like to be told that you're inferior by virtue of the fact of your ethnicity. 

Nope.  But I've been told I'm inferior for plenty of other reasons.  And the webpage behind this forum says prety clearly that if you don't accept the arguments against the Christian god then you are stupid or deluded or uneducated.....we can be guilty of exactly the same thing. 

I don't want to say that our insults are at the same degree as those you experience.  But since the only thing different IS degree, I wonder at what point our website will itself come under attack for inciting hatred by saying that believers are inferior by virtue of their faith?

I don't like hate speech at all.  I think those people are thoroughly, mightily wrong.  But I'd far rather see the next poster to go up explain clearly exactly WHY they are wrong, than have neither poster be allowed to go up at all - because if we challenge their views of who is superior, aren't we actually saying that THEY are inferior because of THEIR beliefs?  Couldn't we get caught by the same legislation we want in place to protect our children from their views? 

Look at Ireland's blasphemy laws, that specifically prevent publication of material "grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion".  Change a couple words at the end, and you have exactly the same law that would prevent those posters being displayed.

That's it.  I don't like seeing those posters.  I don't like hearing the views they espouse.  But if I had to choose, I'd rather live in a world where those views can be expressed and directly challenged, than a world where certain things just cannot be said.
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #63 on: September 20, 2012, 09:51:04 AM »
 

^^^ Anfauglir Great post,but where exactly do we draw the line that can't be crossed?  An ad can offend at least someone ALL the time...so we can remove that,because what may be offensive to granny will make me laugh.

 What may be offensive to one group of people will make another group scream out in praise that the ad is there. You can always find someone who will feel wronged or offended.  American TV is a prime example. A show where we study murder and dead bodies and the murderer can be shown on prime time.....a nipple and the whole country is outraged....what seems worse? Who draws the line on what will be allowed or not?

An ad where Israel calls for peace is one thing....but substitute the star of David for a swastika and change the victim to a Jew....would you call it fee speech or hate?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 09:54:51 AM by 12 Monkeys »
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #64 on: September 20, 2012, 10:09:55 AM »
Indeed. 

That's a caveat I meant to make as my other footnote in that post.  I've known some white folks that grew up in Black and/or Latino neighborhoods that were treated as if their name was "white boy/girl."  I have some conflicting feelings about this sort of group because, on the one hand, they do have access to some of the privilege that being white offers, but on the other they grew up in the same sorts of institutions that a lot of black and brown folks did.  Whatever institutional failures we've dealt with, they've dealt with.  And more to the point here, they definitely have an understanding of what it's like to be a minority, even if the US at large is a majority white nation.
by 2030 or so white skin will be the minority....you can see the Republicans trying to hold on to the strings of power. You can see the fear they have of their fundamental world changing(sharia law as an example)and the don't know what the fuck to do.  For us people of darker skin tones and alternate views,be they religious or cultural in nature,the change is slow. The white folk the change is furiously quick,it scares them.

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Offline Timo

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #65 on: September 20, 2012, 03:40:05 PM »
With all due respect, I think so.  Just because that board is in a public facility does not make it "wrong", while a board in one's front window with the same message would not suddenly be "right" - one may currently be legal, the other not, but either the message itself is one that should never be spoken/printed, or it is not.  It's precisely this distinction between public and private spheres that causes issues and the legal wrangling there has been over this issue.  If the message is wrong, then you do not put it up or voice it ANYWHERE where other people can see or hear it, it doesn't suddenly become acceptable because I paint it on my wall, rather than put it on the side of a communal bus.

Nah, I don't think so, man.

I think that you're conflating a few different things.  On the one hand, you have the rightness of the transit authority to decide what sorts of things it will advertise on its buses and trains.  On the other, you have the rightness of society at large deciding what it deems as acceptable or unacceptable speech.  These are two seperate things.  The transit authority and society at large are going to have different interests in deciding what sorts of speech are acceptable and where.  To begin with, prior to any sort of regulations that the transit authority might wish to impose on advertisers, you have to contend with the fact that the transit authority must be paid for ad placement.  You don't need to pay anyone to put up a sign in your window.  It's your window.  On the other hand, even when we're just talking about your window, you don't get to put up whatever you'd like for public consumption.  If you doubt my voracity, try this:  Find yourself a hardcore pornographic image.  Blow it up so that it takes up most of the space you're trying to utilize on your preferred window.  Proudly display this image in a place where the public can see it and report back to me how you found free speech laws to protect you.

So there's that.  And yet, there are spheres where this same image would be perfectly acceptable.  If you have a blog with a disclaimer that its content is not appropriate for children, you can run this image all day every day with nary a peep from anyone.  Even if said blog has more traffic than there is foot traffic outside of your home.

But I'd far rather see the next poster to go up explain clearly exactly WHY they are wrong, than have neither poster be allowed to go up at all - because if we challenge their views of who is superior, aren't we actually saying that THEY are inferior because of THEIR beliefs?

I completely disagree.  Or rather, I disagree that buses and subway trains should be the place for this sort of discussion to happen.  In general, yes, I think that we should take time out of our day to rebuke the claims of racists, just as on this board many of our members summon heroic levels of patience to rebuke the claims of those that would deny science.  But you can't really have that kind of in depth discussion through ads.  You'd just have talking points passing each other in the night.  As such, I don't think it's a good thing for people to have their basic humanity challenged every time they try to commute, even if it's going to be accompanied by an ad defending their humanity or, more likely, challenging the humanity of the group that opposes them, which in this case is itself another ethnic minority in this country.

Couldn't we get caught by the same legislation we want in place to protect our children from their views?

Yes.  I guess I should say that I'm not a fan of some of the bus ads and billboards though.  I like the ones that basically just say that we're pretty cool and we're atheists or that it's fine to be an atheist, but I don't think that you should have to have your religious faith challenged through a more agressive ad campaign every time you step on the train or drive down a highway.  Maybe that's my issue?

I don't like seeing those posters.  I don't like hearing the views they espouse.  But if I had to choose, I'd rather live in a world where those views can be expressed and directly challenged, than a world where certain things just cannot be said.

Again, I think you're confusing two different things.  I think that this group of idiots has the right to say whatever idiotic thing that they want to say.   But I think it's fairly obvious that they don't necessarily have the right to say it in ads carried by the transit authority.  Again, the right of transit authorities and municipalities to restrict all sorts of normally protected speech has been upheld for years.  For example, I have an Obama/Biden lawn sign awkwardly displayed in my window that you can see from the street.  As far as I know, I can't run an Obama ad on any of the bus or train lines that serve my community.  And I'm not sure that this is a bad thing.


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Offline Timo

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #66 on: September 20, 2012, 03:55:38 PM »
by 2030 or so white skin will be the minority....you can see the Republicans trying to hold on to the strings of power. You can see the fear they have of their fundamental world changing(sharia law as an example)and the don't know what the fuck to do.  For us people of darker skin tones and alternate views,be they religious or cultural in nature,the change is slow. The white folk the change is furiously quick,it scares them.

Let me ease the concerns of nativist white folks by saying that, by that time, they'll still be a plurality.  That said, yeah, I think that the Republican party is making what some on that side of things have admitted is the last campaign of this sort that the party will make.  The homie, Ta-Nehisi Coates had a post the other day about how the shrinking ability of politicians to race-bait results in the increasing vulnerability of white people to policies that are intended to marginalize black and brown people.

Then again, maybe, just maybe, the Republican party will decide to be a conservative party that's not particularly concerned with addressing ethnic grievances.  I can dream, can't I?
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 04:04:01 PM by Timo »
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Offline Brakeman

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #67 on: September 20, 2012, 04:50:02 PM »
Help find the cure for FUNDAMENTIA !

Offline Quesi

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #68 on: September 20, 2012, 05:21:10 PM »
Here’s the thing.  There are lots of legal restrictions on our freedom of speech and our freedom of expression. 

At my job, I am prohibited from telling my employees who they should vote for. I'm pretty sure that in my job, it is a contractual thing, not a legal thing.  But in any case, it is a restriction.   I don’t feel that this infringes on my rights.  I can tell the lady sitting next to me on the bus who I think she should vote for.  I can tell my neighbors, my cousins, and the moms on the playground.  But when I am interacting with people in my capacity as their employer, there is a power imbalance, and I need to sacrifice some of my freedoms in order to protect theirs.  I don’t see a problem with that. 

Let’s take a completely different example.  I can stand on the side of the road and burn a flag.  An American flag, an Israeli flag, any flag I like.  I might piss some people off, but this is a form of expression that is protected under US law.  If, however, while burning the flag, I draw a crowd, and explain that I plan to assassinate former president Bush this afternoon by sprinkling arsenic on his pizza when he stops for lunch at Joe’s Famous Pizzeria, I will probably be taken in to police custody.

I can also stand on the corner and explain that the virgin mother will be arriving at that very spot this evening at 5 PM to preside over a ceremony in which her son Jesus will marry his long-time love, the prophet Mohammad (pbuh).  So far, so good. 

However, if I then explain that at the completion of the ceremony, we will all be taken up to heaven with the happy couple, but only if we successfully kill the evil bodega owner, Mr. Garcia, who is working across the street right now, I am crossing into dangerous territory.  And if I am charismatic enough to convince the crowd that Mr. Garcia needs to die, and they start pulling out their nail scissors and getting ready to stab him, and pulling out their cigarette lighters and getting ready to set the bodega on fire, and heading over to the bodega to do the deed while chanting KILL KILL KILL, while I am kneeling with my head in prayer, I will be taken into custody and charged with inciting a riot. 

Here’s another one.  Let’s say I’m really pissed about a traffic light in my neighborhood that is out of sync with the other traffic lights.  It turns green and yellow and red, but at the wrong times.  So let’s say I put on a bright orange vest, and stand in the intersection and shout at the cars sitting at the red light, telling them that the light is broken, and I wave them through.  I might be right.  The light might be broken.  But I’ve still broken the law by telling the drivers to go through the redlight.

Let’s say I call up homeland security, and explain to them that HAL is part of an al qaeda cell, and that he and his terrorist buddies are using model railroads to act out their plan to blow up the Long Island Railroad this evening during rush hour.  Let’s say I have specific details that make my story sound credible.  And they raid HAL’s house and take all of his railroad stuff away, and then discover I have no evidence at all, and that I’m just pissed at him for smiting me about my freedom of speech.  Well, it would probably turn out that I had abused my freedom of speech, and had filed a false report, and I’m probably going to jail. 

I can’t tell the IRS that I earned $12,000 last year, even if it felt like I was living on 12K.  I can’t tell the bank teller that I have a bomb strapped to my waist and that I would really like her to hand me the contents of the vault.  I can’t leaflet for my favorite candidate in within a certain number of feel from the polling booths.  If I make a widget and tell everyone it has passed extensive quality control testing, and then a dozen people die using it, and it turns out that I did not do extensive quality control testing, I will certainly have some legal liability. 

It is probably not illegal for me to go up to a beat cop and start making explicit comments about the sexual activity of his mother, but if I did, I would probably end up in custody on some other charge. 

If I tell my church congregation that the evil O’Conner family is performing satanic rituals on our pets in their barn, and that we must stop them, and then, some members of my congregation burn down the O’Conner barn, I probably have some liability. 

There are lots of limits on my freedom of speech.  Most of them are designed to protect other people. 

Offline Gnu Ordure

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #69 on: September 20, 2012, 05:57:17 PM »
Do you, or do you not, believe that a person has a right to never be offended?

People get offended all the time.  That is an absurd question.  No government could protect people from being offended, and I don't think that anyone has an expectation of going through life without being offended.   So my answer is no.

OK, so you don't think a person has the right to never be offended.

Quote
I do, however, believe that people have a right to protected from institutionally sanctioned categorization as being inferior to the rest of the species, based on their gender, ethnicity, race, religion, cultural practices, sexual identity, or other characteristics.  I believe that people have the right to be protected against freedom of speech that has the potential of resulting in violence against them as members of a specific group.

OK, so you do think a person has the right to never be offended ... what?

Which is it? Either you do or don't.

HAL, Quesi's second quote doesn't mention being offended. It mentions speech which implies inferiority, and speech which incites violence. It doesn't mention feelings.

So I don't see a contradiction in her two statements.


And listen, sweetie; every time you address Quesi as 'dear', it diminishes you, not her. You might want to reconsider that rhetorical device, pumpkin. If you know what a rhetorical device is...  dear.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #70 on: September 20, 2012, 07:32:27 PM »
Thanks for naming it Gnu. Honestly, I’ve been moving forward assuming that he was using it as a device to illustrate his point by being offensive.

But as I have already stated, there is a difference between something that someone finds offensive, and something that represents a danger.

Racism, sexism, homophobia are offensive.  Are they dangerous?  Well, to the extent that they distance to subject of the attacks from the rest of the population.  And to the extent that they dehumanize the subjects, sometimes just a little nick at a time, making the subjects more vulnerable to increased attacks.  So a single racist, sexist, homophobic attack may be “offensive” but not in itself dangerous.  It becomes dangerous when it become cumulative, or when it is paired with other assumptions, such as the idea that the subject poses a threat to the general population, and needs to be controlled, diminished, marginalized.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently, especially as I’ve been participating in this thread, about the TD Ameritrade ad that is airing on TV these days.  It offends me.  It infuriates me.  I frantically turn off the tv when it comes on, because I’m afraid my daughter will hear it.

It starts with the commonly held misconception that the Mayans, rather than some silly new agers, are predicting the end of the world on December 21, 2012.  The Mayan calendar simply rolls over to the next baktun, which is 144,000 days long.  The commercial mocks the belief, that they falsely attribute to the Mayans.  They go on to say that if the world doesn’t end, you need to pursue retirement planning with them.  And the commercial ends with the words “Who’s in control now, Mayans?”



The fact that the Mayan people were stripped of all control over their lives when the Europeans arrived in the Americas was probably not on the minds of the people who made the commercial.  They are probably not aware of the fact that infant mortality rates among the Mayan populations are the second highest in the hemisphere, topped only by Haiti, and that the first people in the hemisphere to develop a written language are now among the most illiterate people in the world. 

The TD Ameritrade people were probably unaware of the fact that in Guatemala, a semi-apartheid system keeps the Mayan people out of government, business, land ownership, and polite society.  I’m assuming that the people who made the ad are unaware of the fact that the Mayans are not mythical creatures, but in fact living, breathing human beings who have been stripped of their culture, marginalized and decimated. 

I’ve called TD Ameritrade.  I’ve written letters.  No one has written back, but the nice ladies on the other end of the phone are genuinely baffled by the fact that this commercial offends me.  Apparently various investors call the complaint line expressing concerns about Matt Damon’s role as the new TD Ameritrade spokesperson.  But the nice ladies have never heard anyone complain about “Who’s on top now, Mayans.” 

I’ve asked myself over and over again if Mayan people are being hurt by this ad.  I know I don’t want my daughter to hear it.  I dread the foolishness that is going to happen in December.  She knows she is Mayan.  She knows her Mayan ancestors were great architects.  Great scientists who studied the stars.  She has seen the ancient Mayan writings, and knows about their history.  She knows about the art and the brilliant textiles and I’ve tried to introduce her to the base 20 mathematical system that can be used to perform complex calculations with just some sticks and some beans.  I want her to be proud of her ancestry.  Not to be mocked. 

I could boycott TD Ameritrade.  That would be easy. Incredibly easy since it would never have occurred to me to do business with them in the first place.  I could get all of my friends to boycott.  Umm… not too many in my social circles go that route.  Those of us who have a little money to put away tend to be more credit union/ TIAA CREF/ socially conscious fund investors.   I could mobilize NY’s Mayan community.  I’ve mentioned it to a few folks.  They are less likely than me to have any money to invest. 

I am offended.  I could take action against the business, as I have taken action against other businesses.  But other than phone calls and letters, it appears I won’t.  They are expressing their freedom of speech by creating this ad and airing it.  They are also demonstrating much more about who they are. 

When the ad comes on, I can turn off my tv. 

But an offensive tv is really different from a dangerous ad in a mass transit system.  And if you don’t know what I am talking about, go back and read Timo’s well-researched posts on the subject.   

Offline jetson

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #71 on: September 20, 2012, 07:49:06 PM »
Damn, people - this thread is awesome!  This reminds me of why I love this forum. 

Carry on.

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #72 on: September 21, 2012, 04:52:38 AM »
Just because that board is in a public facility does not make it "wrong", while a board in one's front window with the same message would not suddenly be "right" - one may currently be legal, the other not, but either the message itself is one that should never be spoken/printed, or it is not.....If the message is wrong, then you do not put it up or voice it ANYWHERE where other people can see or hear it, it doesn't suddenly become acceptable because I paint it on my wall, rather than put it on the side of a communal bus.

I think that you're conflating a few different things.  On the one hand, you have the rightness of the transit authority to decide what sorts of things it will advertise on its buses and trains.  On the other, you have the rightness of society at large deciding what it deems as acceptable or unacceptable speech.  These are two seperate things.  The transit authority and society at large are going to have different interests in deciding what sorts of speech are acceptable and where......

When the ad comes on, I can turn off my tv.  But an offensive tv is really different from a dangerous ad in a mass transit system. 

So what it comes down to is that in some locations an offensive message is legally allowed, and in some locations it is NOT legally allowed.

Sure.  I get that.  What I DON'T get is why there is a distinction.  Does the message suddenly become less offensive when you read it on the side of a car parked in the station car park, than on the side of the train you catch two minutes later?  Of course not!  But that is what the law seems to suggest - that over here, we must protect people, but over there we do not.

That's my point.  That if someone will see or hear the message, wherever that message may be, then it is the content of the message that should be subject to the consideration of the law, not its location.

12 monkeys asked me where we should draw the line - I don't think I said a line should be drawn.  Because once you have drawn a line, you can then shift that line around, this way or that.  Too far THAT way, and all of a sudden we are no longer allowed to challenge religion in public because it is offensive to them.  Too far the other way, and the line disappears anyway. 

So no - I suspect I wouldn't have a line at all, despite all the vitriolic nonsense that would then get pushed out by the ignorant.  You don't defeat ignorance by pushing it back into the darkness, you defeat it by shining a light on the idiocy and exposing it for the insecure madness that it is.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #73 on: September 21, 2012, 06:36:47 AM »
When the ad comes on, I can turn off my tv.  But an offensive tv is really different from a dangerous ad in a mass transit system. 

So what it comes down to is that in some locations an offensive message is legally allowed, and in some locations it is NOT legally allowed.

No.  That is not what it comes down to.  What it comes down to is whether the ad - offensive or not - is dangerous when placed in its context.
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Offline Quesi

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #74 on: September 21, 2012, 06:57:55 AM »
Thank you for your thoughtful feedback Anfauglir. 

I just have to say that I find it really odd that in atheist circles, I’m usually on the other side of this debate.  But it is such a complex issue, that I can argue both sides. 

So there are clearly folks here who think that freedom of speech should be ABSOLUTE with no restrictions. 

There are other folks who think that dangerous content should be restricted, regardless of context. 

I’m assuming that would include the separation of church and state, because that separation is in fact a restriction on freedom of speech and expression, based on context. 

So Anfauglir, (and HAL) is it safe to say that in this thread http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,23852.0.html you would fight to protect the rights of those who want to pray before the big game, because their freedom of speech is more important than your right to be protected from hearing their prayers?  The context doesn’t matter?  The freedom of speech gives them the right to pray?

For those of you who seem to be advocating for unrestricted freedom of speech, both in terms of content and context, let’s take another example, which is really not all that different from the virgin Mary/kill Mr. Garcia example that I posted a few entries up.  This time, the state is not part of the equation.  It is all about preparations for the apocalyptic race wars which a self-proclaimed prophet assured his followers, would usher in a new age.

I know some of us here are old enough to remember Charles Manson.  For those of you who don’t, here’s a little background.  He knew that he was the messiah, and that it was his responsibility to usher in a new era, which would begin with race riots depicted in the Beatles song “Helter Skelter.”   

Manson didn’t kill anyone.  He didn’t even go near any of the victims.  He just exercised his freedom of speech, told his followers that it was time for “Helter Skelter” and he waited outside while the faithful slashed and killed at least 7 people on, I think, 3 different occasions.  (anyone more familiar with the details can correct me here.)

Under US law, he was convicted of “conspiracy to murder” even though he never physically touched any of his victims, and I’m pretty sure he wasn’t even physically present for any of the murders.  His followers killed people.  He was just the inspiration.

So do you support his right to unlimited freedom of speech?  Do you believe that he was wrongly convicted of murders that he just inspired, but did not, in fact commit? 

Edited for sloppy typos
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 07:08:50 AM by Quesi »

Offline Quesi

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #75 on: September 21, 2012, 07:00:07 AM »

No.  That is not what it comes down to.  What it comes down to is whether the ad - offensive or not - is dangerous when placed in its context.

I think that is the direction I'm leaning in.  Of course, "dangerous" is subjective. 

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #76 on: September 21, 2012, 07:18:16 AM »
I just have to say that I find it really odd that in atheist circles, I’m usually on the other side of this debate.  But it is such a complex issue, that I can argue both sides.

I’m curious, Quesi. What are you arguing for in this particular case? Are you arguing that the advertisement you quoted in your OP should be made illegal?

The District Court has ruled that it is not illegal so do you think a new law should be passed to make that particular advertisement illegal? If so, how would you word that law?

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #77 on: September 21, 2012, 07:23:11 AM »
I just have to say that I find it really odd that in atheist circles, I’m usually on the other side of this debate.  But it is such a complex issue, that I can argue both sides.

I’m curious, Quesi. What are you arguing for in this particular case? Are you arguing that the advertisement you quoted in your OP should be made illegal?

The District Court has ruled that it is not illegal so do you think a new law should be passed to make that particular advertisement illegal? If so, how would you word that law?

Honestly, when I started this thread, I thought that the discussion would be about Israel and Palestine and Judaism and Islam.  But it went in another direction.

Washington DC is not allowing the ad to run on the subways.  NYC is allowing it. 

I think that the ad is not only offensive, but potentially dangerous, and as a resident of NYC, I oppose the decision to run the ad. 

Edited to add: There is a whole lot that is subjective in this discussion.  And huge ethical questions are being pinned against each other. 
« Last Edit: September 21, 2012, 07:26:00 AM by Quesi »

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #78 on: September 21, 2012, 07:25:52 AM »
So there are clearly folks here who think that freedom of speech should be ABSOLUTE with no restrictions.

There are?  Who?  *looks around in bewilderment*
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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #79 on: September 21, 2012, 07:29:08 AM »
Please answer my other questions, Quesi. Are you arguing that the advertisement you quoted in your OP should be made illegal? The District Court has ruled that it is not illegal so do you think a new law should be passed to make that particular advertisement illegal? If so, how would you word that law?

You say you find the advertisement offensive so are you arguing that things you personally find offensive should be made illegal?

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #80 on: September 21, 2012, 07:36:31 AM »
So there are clearly folks here who think that freedom of speech should be ABSOLUTE with no restrictions.

There are?  Who?  *looks around in bewilderment*

That appears to be HAL's position.

3sigma- I am arguing that the ad has the potential to be dangerous, and therefore should not be posted in a public space. 

Personally, I am much more offended by the TD Ameritrade ad, because in its ignorance, it touches my family directly.  I find that ad offensive.  But I don't think that it is dangerous.

A subway ad, which depicts a group of people (who are increasingly victims of hate crimes) and who live in NY and ride the NYC subway system, as "savages" has the potential to inspire more violence.

I NEED to get to my office and get a document out this morning.  I promise I will be back later.  3sigma, if I did not answer your question satisfactorily, please call me on it and I'll be back. 

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #81 on: September 21, 2012, 07:46:53 AM »
3sigma, if I did not answer your question satisfactorily, please call me on it and I'll be back.

No, you haven’t answered my questions satisfactorily. Indeed, you haven’t answered them at all.

I’m particularly interested in whether you want the advertisement in your OP to be made illegal and how you would do that. So, do you think a new law should be passed to make that particular advertisement illegal? If so, how would you word that law? Does this mean that you wish advertisements you personally find offensive to be made illegal?

Offline jedweber

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #82 on: September 21, 2012, 07:48:53 AM »
Are you arguing that the advertisement you quoted in your OP should be made illegal?

Choosing not to run an ad =/= "making it illegal"

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #83 on: September 21, 2012, 08:04:57 AM »
Choosing not to run an ad =/= "making it illegal"

That’s true, but that isn’t my question to Quesi. Additionally, the New York transit authority no longer has that option. They are now under a court order to run the advertisement.

I’m interested in how Quesi (or anyone else) thinks the display of such advertisements could be prevented. There will probably always be bigots like Pam Geller and the ADFI out there running advertisements like this. You could try appealing to their better nature, but I doubt that will have much effect so how do people propose such advertisements be prevented from running? Do people wish to see such advertisements made illegal? If so, how would you word a law to prevent that particular advertisement in the OP? Does proposing such a law mean that people are wishing to make illegal things they find personally offensive?

Offline Quesi

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #84 on: September 21, 2012, 09:24:16 AM »

I’m particularly interested in whether you want the advertisement in your OP to be made illegal and how you would do that. So, do you think a new law should be passed to make that particular advertisement illegal? If so, how would you word that law?

Sigma- It seems that you are asking me to re-vamp everything that I have already written about in this thread.  I have written extensively both about content and context.  And Timo has written even more extensively about the specific context of advertisements in mass transit. 

I am not an attorney, nor am I experienced at drafting legislation. [1] . However in this case, I believe that it is a policy issue, rather than a legislative issue, and as such, would fall under the realm of the executive branch (as represented by the gubernatorial appointees on the MTA Board).  Timo, who clearly knows much more about law than I do, can correct me if I am wrong here. 

I am assuming that you understand the difference between policies and legislation. 

So may I restate your question to read:  Do you think that the MTA should write a policy that would prohibit inflammatory advertisements (like this one) from being posted on Mass Transit?  And if so, how would you word that policy?

If you are ok with that rewording, I would certainly be happy to attempt to address it. 

Does this mean that you wish advertisements you personally find offensive to be made illegal?

I REALLY need to get some work done today, but I most certainly have a great deal to say on this question, and I will come back later and address it at length. 
 1. But I’m very proud to have been consulted by legislative staff on several occasions, (both at the city and federal level) while they were in the process of drafting proposed legislation on various unrelated topics

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #85 on: September 21, 2012, 09:44:24 AM »
... Does this mean that you wish advertisements you personally find offensive to be made illegal?

Quesi was quite clear on this point.  That's why she made sure to distinguish "offensive" and "dangerous".

Her posts certainly do appear less reasonable when one doesn't do the courtesy of reading them.
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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Anti-Muslim ad to appear in NYC subways
« Reply #86 on: September 21, 2012, 10:17:29 AM »
Choosing not to run an ad =/= "making it illegal"

That’s true, but that isn’t my question to Quesi. Additionally, the New York transit authority no longer has that option. They are now under a court order to run the advertisement.

I’m interested in how Quesi (or anyone else) thinks the display of such advertisements could be prevented. There will probably always be bigots like Pam Geller and the ADFI out there running advertisements like this. You could try appealing to their better nature, but I doubt that will have much effect so how do people propose such advertisements be prevented from running? Do people wish to see such advertisements made illegal? If so, how would you word a law to prevent that particular advertisement in the OP? Does proposing such a law mean that people are wishing to make illegal things they find personally offensive?
If it were a white supremacists ad calling for the end of immigration and the shipping out of all non-white "immigrants" by any means necessary I am sure you would not only be offended but would demand its removal,no?

 States like Arizona were already ramping up to rid their state of "immigrants" with their ridiculous laws.....would white supremacists ads be ok there?
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