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America, F--- yeah

Before I begin, allow me to say a few words about the election. AGH. AGH. AGH. Did a majority of this country just miss the last four years? Are we not thinking? Does anyone realize the consequences of this? President George W. Bush is now going to think that the country has written him a blank check to do whatever he wants. He didn’t listen to reason and logic before, when he wasn’t elected. Now there is no stopping him.

We have reinstated, as I like to call it, the Administration of I have No Proof Whatsoever for Any of the Things I Say, run by the Federal Commission of I’m Right Because I Said So. Let the social regression, environmental destruction, economic stagnation and international humiliation continue.

Profanity was invented for times like these. There’s no other way to say how I feel than just F… oh, wait. I can’t say that, can I? Dane Cook put it perfectly when he said, “F- - - is like the best word ever. It really is, it’s perfect. When someone finally says [it], there’s nothing better.” And he’s right. Desperate times, as they say, call for desperate measures.

Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to use profane words. I had always been under the impression that whatever censorship took place in these pages was self-imposed, but apparently that is not the case. The matter was brought to my attention only this past weekend at a meeting called to discuss what we can and cannot say in our columns. It was lovely. Someone brought brownies.

While we are not allowed to swear, however, we do not have any limits as far as topics that we can discuss. But hold on one second. What happens if the topics that we want to discuss necessitate profane language? What happens if I quote someone that uses the word, and all the little number signs and dollar signs and asterisks you can imagine do not convey the same idea?

Words are just words. They are, by definition, signifiers: They stand in for the real thing. The word “staple” is nothing more than a verbal sign of the noun (or the action). The same thing is true for profanity. It is nothing more than a representation of a feeling or an idea that happens to carry a charge that we as a society have imposed upon it.

So if we can talk about anything, and words are just representations of that anything, why is there a limit on which words we can use? How can we have freedom to discuss any subject if there are words that we cannot write? Is there a list of these words that are taboo, or is just left to the judgment of the editors?

What I think people forget is that this is an independent student newspaper. If there ever was a place for free speech, it should be in these editorial pages, where I am allowed to say that I do not respect our newly elected President, or that I am scared poopless about the imminent consolidation of church and state, or that Erskine Bowles might win an election if he would just change his glasses.

Because like it or not, this all goes back to the question of censorship. You start by limiting the words that I can say on these pages. Then someone writes a column about something controversial and people write in from all over the place saying that he shouldn’t be allowed to say what he said and that the newspaper should be held accountable. And then I don’t get published for a week.

And I wonder if the people who responded that way were thinking about what they wrote. It is acceptable to be upset at someone. It is wonderful, sometimes, to disagree. But you cannot make the argument that a person does not have the right to express their opinions. And you cannot say that an independent student newspaper does not have the right to publish opinions on an opinion page.

Profanity for profanity’s sake is pointless. But what we do not need is absolutes, or rules, or guidelines. We do not need a moral code. In the words of French Connection United Kingdom, “Fcuk it.”

 

Eric Vivier is a Trinity senior.

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