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ipecacbanner

Name:
Location: St. Vincent & Grenadines

You were driving home in the dark on one glass-slippered heel, window sliced open and bathing in the snowliquor of the night air. We heard you singing, and couldn't bear to wake you.

05 July 2007

Bong hits 4 Jesus. Bong hits 4 Jesus. Bong hits, bong hits, bong hits 4 Jesus.* What does that even mean?

A) Jesus is sick and he needs medical marijuana. Donations would be appreciated.
B) Jesus is dead and that's sad and we should all smoke a bowl in his honor.
C) Smoking pot is highly recommended, and it comes with a free bonus: Jesus.
D) Bong hits are in fact beings who support the political/religious success of Jesus.
E) Someone named Bong is engaged in hitting, which he does on behalf of Jesus.
F) I like raising my middle finger, but I don't quite know what to do with it once it's up there. Also, I can't spell the word "for".

Yeah, so it's not just the unfettered free speech of the KKK and Jerry Falwell that we liberals have to defend, it's yutzes like this kid. It's not just offensive speech we have to allow, it's clumsy cheekiness like that of Mr. Frederick. What he did was rude and unimaginative, but no more so than the blatherings of Michael Savage or Ann Coulter.

[* By the way, the page I referenced for this story was on Wikipedia. A whole lot of people give Wikipedia shit, because it's so easy to do when you don't have a full picture of how it actually works. Read this.]

Anyway, last week my local latte-liberal daily ran an editorial in support of First Amendment rights, and received this response from a man in Santa Rosa named Michael Flanagan:

Your editorial, "Taking a hit", promotes free speech rights for children under 18 and supports the child with the banner "Bong hits 4 Jesus." Why?

It is often stated that with freedoms come responsibility. Certainly many American have taken on that responsibility and courageously died in wars defending our freedoms, and free speech is foremost of all the freedoms that we hold dear. Are children under the age of 18 ready to assume the responsibility that comes with free speech? Are we parents to give our teenagers a carte blanche to do and say whatever they wish? Part of our job as parents is to guide our children down the proper path, and that includes teaching them what is appropriate to say.

I'd be interested to know how active and influential the parents of "Bong hits 4 Jesus" were in leading their teenager down the proper path, though in this day and age, some parents think that dope and bong hits are the proper path.


I snorted so loudly upon reading this that Marla suggested I go write a reply. I did, and it appeared in the paper this week. I wrote:

Letter writer Michael Flanagan of Santa Rosa is to be commended for his thoughtful rebuttal Friday to your editorial concerning the "Bong hits 4 Jesus" kid. As he points out, many Americans have died to defend our right to free speech; clearly, they have thereby demonstrated the responsibility to exercise that right, although their deaths do present some logistical difficulties.

But those were adults. Those under the age of 18 have not made such a sacrifice and should not be trusted to speak their minds without the approval of their elders.

As everyone knows, with the arrival of one's 18th birthday comes a sudden metamorphosis into a being of maturity and wisdom -- one who knows, without being told, what is "appropriate to say." Flanagan, who was lucky enough to have been guided down "the proper path", knows that appropriate speech is limited to that which offends no one.

Surely, that is what our brave soldiers have fought and died for.