Freedom of (Hate) Speech


I’m a writer. Always have been. Always will be. So it stands to reason that I am absolutely in love with The First Amendment which grants me Freedom of Speech–not to mention The Press!–not only can I say what I want I can write it down as well and pass it out maybe even make a buck off of it. Who knows.

Three “events” have struck this week and they, once again, have me questioning just how I actually want Freedom of Speech to go in certain directions. While, a few years ago I never would have said that I was in favor of limiting Free Speech in any manner–I’m still not, not really–I now find myself saying whatever happened to Common Sense, Good Taste, Personal Responsibility and, in lieu of those things, Being Shunned By The Community.

First this week, a friend sent me a link to Change.org to sign a petition over removing a Facebook page that I had looked at and earlier reported. A page Facebook told me was protected by Freedom of Speech even though they clearly have a No Hate Speech Policy. Check it out Witches Must Die By Fire. No, that’s not hate speech, that’s simple, mature, responsible, expression of a coherent thought.

Right?

If it read; Christians Must Die By Fire, Blacks Must Die By Fire, Jews Must Die By Fire, Fags (sorry) Must Die By Fire or anything like that, FB would take it down. The “owner” is an instigating ass anyway. You should read some of the crap over there. So I signed The Petition

Second, someone sent some letter to someone over an autistic child and….the world went ape shit. Justifiably so, of course. Click the link and read it for yourself if you haven’t already. (Personally I read it on Yahoo! News 2 days before GMA brought to me with morning coffee…that happens a lot lately. But that’s another blog altogether.) This “letter” is absolutely horrible and signifies that all the truly wrong with people these days. The fact that it was sent anonymously only proves what coward the writer is. If you want to get up there and point fingers, make nasty remarks, and say how people should be euthanized at least have the balls to do it in the open…you cowardly piece of shit.

Out of the entire nasty vulgar vile thing, there is one item in there I could identify with and understand…but not the way it was written. It’s the part about ‘scaring my normal children’. OK. I can see how the boy might be ‘scary’ to other ‘normal’ kids. He’s different. He makes funny sounds. Kids don’t understand. Kids often fear what they do not understand. As a PARENT it’s your job to help them, to guide them, to deliver them out of ignorance and to understanding there’s nothing to be afraid of with regard to the boy. And you’re going to have to do that with several things in your children’s lives; no boogey man under the bed, no monster in the closet, the lady next door is old, crotchety and smells funny but that’s ok and….so on. If you as a parent can’t ease and finally allay your child’s’ fears you’re probably not a great parent. Maybe you’d like to consider dealing with your own shortcomings rather than taking your inability to be an effective parent out on the autistic boy next door. Just a thought.

Third and last, before I went to sleep last night I checked my Facebook page and there was an article in my personal feed from a fellow author who I don’t know but have to pay attention to her posts because I think she’s very smart. Canceling The Release of Learning to Love. Authors cancel release dates for all types of reasons…mostly the book just ain’t finished…but this quite different. Check it out. I’ll wait.

Wow, huh?

It’s all because she asked a simple and relevant question on GoodReads; Why are these reviews showing up when none of these people have read the book because it isn’t out yet?

I think that’s a very legitimate question and there’s nothing stupid about it.

I am seriously considering canceling my GoodReads account, I know I’m taking them off my site this afternoon because I too have had problems with them in the past and been the victim of bullish behavior that was condoned by GoodReads and it happened over the exact same issue; how can these people be ‘reviewing’ my book when it’s not even out yet? Just so you’re aware on GoodReads and the like, those “stars” aren’t just connected to just they’re also there to gauge by ‘interest’ in reading a book. So people who have never read it can just click ‘1 star’ and fly away to the next author and leave ‘1 star’ and go to the next all day long. Thereby bringing down your total rating of those “star reviews”. Oh yes, AND it’s perfectly ok for a “reviewer” to openly state in their “review” they’ve NEVER read your book but they HATE it anyway. Not exactly a fair and unbiased system is it? Not exactly a nurturing environment for author or reader. Oh yeah and that’s Freedom of Speech. For a site that depends MORE on the AUTHOR participating than it does on ‘readers’ participating they might like to rethink their business strategy. No authors, no books, nothing to review. It’s that simple.

What broke my heart over the whole thing is that she’s a debut author and her debut book is being put on indefinite hold over a few cowardly self-important dicks—no loads with no lives—who have nothing better to do then try their damndest to crush someone else’s dream. She should be overwhelmed with fear, anxiety, excitement, and sitting on pins and needles as her release day approaches for her first book. Instead she’s been bombarded by troll shit. And it was probably started by a GoodReads Librarian, that’s a kick in the head, ain’t it? Read her posts, you’ll see. I guess that’s what you get when you have nearly an ‘all volunteer staff’ and anyone can become a GoodReads Librarian. Which means any bullying troll can have all the ‘power’ they desire to make someone’s life miserable and never face a consequence over it. There’s a good argument for making them PAID POSITIONS, isn’t it? If there’s a PAY CHECK on the line then maybe this stuff won’t happen so often.

For us creative types, we writers/artists it’s especially disheartening when trolls target us. We psyche ourselves up to an unbelievable level just to get up the guts to put ourselves OUT THERE and to ask someone to PAY for our STORIES even if it’s just $0.99. These are our ‘babies’ after all, we work on them, we develop them, we nurture them. It takes a very special type of person to put themselves on display that way. It takes an even more special type of personal to keep at it with all that happens Out Here and not let it drag them down into the troll muck.

It’s one thing to get a bad review, been there, done that more than once. It sucks but it’s also Part and Parcel of the Game. You, as an author/artist/filmmaker/hotel owner/whatever, have to take it. And you have to take it in stride with grace, and, not go all ape shit–in public–over it because that will only make you look bad. If the bad review is also an honest review–and you’ll be able to tell if it is or isn’t–then maybe there are relevant points in it. Maybe there are things you can learn and apply to the next book/movie/painting/whatever.

Yet, it is impossible to ‘review’ something you’ve never read/watched/used/eaten/stayed at and so forth. That’s what “review” means; your HONEST opinion of something AFTER you’ve experienced it. A “Review” should never be allowed under any other circumstances. It shouldn’t even be offered and in a Civilized Society I suppose it wouldn’t.

Listen up, GoodReads/Amazon/Shelfari…. “Book shelves” titled things like; Author Should be Sodomized and Should be Raped in Prison should NOT be allowed on a site that wants to be taken seriously in the book world. Like the “autistic boy letter” it may be covered by Freedom of Speech but it’s also covered by Common Sense 101: You’re An Asshole and Should Be Treated Accordingly…Get Out. When sites like GoodReads/Amazon/Shelfari go out of their way to ALLOW such behavior they only smack themselves in the face and belittle their own worth to the Book Community.

At least I think Amazon is starting to catch on to that fact on their actual site, which is nice. If you go to “review” ON Amazon or Kindle the review will state if you are a Verified Purchaser. If those words don’t appear in the “review” or if the “reviewer” is not a known Amazon Reviewer you can probably kick the “review” to the side if it’s bad and chalk it up to one more jerk. Now if they’d just institute that on GoodReads and Shelfari, along with paid librarians, maybe some of the other crap would stop on those sites as well.

If you believe such behavior shouldn’t be tolerated please!….. Sign Here!

It never fails to amaze me how far some of us will sink to feel important on some level, like we matter, we count.

You do matter. You do count. All on your own. You don’t have to be a dick to get those things. They’re yours because you’re (supposedly) human. It’s not how loud to scream it’s the words you say and what you do with your voice, your Freedom of Speech, that show the world who and what you truly are. If you want everyone to think you’re a loud, vulgar, vile, ignorant, arrogant, self-important, self-obsessed, cowardly little individual that’s up to you.

If not then….

About lbdarling

Beware...the truth is spoken here. If you can't handle that...buh-bye.

Posted on 21/08/2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Hi Lisa,
    I am in a WTF state with what I have read or heard about just in this past year. But my friend I hate to say this, these times will only just get worse with all the support of hating going on in this world.

    I hate to say this too and I wish I could of left a message for Lauren on her site but I didnt see anywhere or even a link to leave a comment on. This is what I would say to Lauren – “Lauren you say you refuse to let Bullies get to you however by not releasing your book you are letting them win – you need to toughen up and take legal action against goodreads and that group smashing your name”

    I have never read anything written by Lauren but that doesn’t matter, what matters is that she needs to do something about it. Maybe if the real readers like myself and others will join together and boycott goodreads then maybe they would get the message that they need to delete those individuals account because of their bashing. There needs to be a link on goodreads to report the bashing, there should be no warning to the account holder, they should just delete their account immediately.

    I understand the stress of pressure in bullying and how it can be so overwhelming to the point of depression but taking one day at a time in doing what is right such as filing legal charges is the best way to recover from a depression.

    I am going to be sending a letter to goodreads to complain and if anyone wants to join in with me to raise a group to stop this then please email me (mrsqueentutt@gmail.com) . I have no problem telling goodreads to fuck off and I will be glad to take my 607 reviews off of goodreads. There are other sites I can put my reviews.

    So for Lauren even though I do not know her if someone could please tell her that this is one reader that will stand up and kick ass – by the way fuck everyone that doesn’t like my language – I am a 100% disabled Army Veteran who has fought for my country and has earned the right to talk any dam way I please.

    I have seveal comments to make so I will address each subject you have mentioned in different comment windows.

    • Hey Ronda!

      Sweetheart, you come over here whenever the hell you want and say whatever the hell you want however the hell you want to say it! Don’t you ever worry about that, my friend.

      I don’t think Lauren is ‘letting them win’ because there is NO winning with people like this in the first place. There’s only ‘feeding the fire’ and trolls LOVE it when you ‘feed’ them. Those greedy bastards. I respect her decision even though it makes me very sad.

      You can’t sue someone who you can’t identify. GoodReads won’t give up information on these people without a Court Order and we all know how incredibly expensive lawyers are. Most of them probably wouldn’t even take the case because 1-there’s little to no money in it and 2-they’ll just say “Freedom of Speech” like GoodReads is doing.

      You’re absolutely right there should be a ‘report abuse’ button and those accounts should be deleted without notice. But we’re sane and rational…most of the time ;)….so what the hell do you and I know????

      I think Lauren is very brave for putting this out there the way she has. I am VERY proud of the Book Community/Author Community/Reviewer Community and, most especially the Indie Author Community, for supporting her and coming together this way. I believe that’s exactly what needs to happen to change this crap.

  2. AS far as the group Witches must die by fire – it sounds like a bunch of retards that are part of a religious cult that have been brain washed just like other similar religions of all kinds. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against having religion if you can find a happy medium – except when it involves the mind frame of teaching its members hate towards others and unfortunately we have several religions in this world who teach that such as Church of God teaching their members to not associate with people who are worldly. Such as Muslim’s who teach that Christians are infidels. Such as any religion that teaches that if you are not a member of a church you will go to hell or if you do not follow any doctrine you will go to hell (Catholic).

    I would say that the only way to handle people like this is to ignore them but when they are causing bodily harm then you can not ignore it. For example, Muslim’s are killing all Christians right now in Egypt – my solution would be to nuke that whole region (these people I truly hate). For the religions that support that group “All Witches must die by fire” – the only thing that can shut it down is that the Wiccan’s need to come forward and march on the White House just like gays, blacks, or any other religion to complain that their worship is being made fun of.

    I may be wrong but I don’t think Wicca is even considered a type of worship any more and I believe that this needs to be brought to the forefront and remind people that it does still exist.

    What is sad, is that I see nothing but chaos in the future and the only way to shut something down is to somehow prove by law that the subject is offensive to a majority.

    None the less, I do not like what that group is all about and therefore choose to ignore it and keep the opinion that it is just a bunch of retards with nothing better in their life to do but bash something they don’t know anything about. Stupid Fuckers

    • Oh my friend do you have any idea how long I’ve been saying; nuke the whole lot? But I guess that makes me crazy or something. I agree the person who ow s that page should be ignored and shrugged off but if they’re connected to a larger group then Pagans like me can’t afford to ignore them anymore than the friggin Westboro Baptist Church can be ignored. Yes Wicca is a legally recognized religion I the US but I’m not Wiccan. I’m just your average garden variety Pagan.

      Sent from my iPad

  3. That letter to the mother of the autistic child is just sickening. The mother who wrote that stating that the autistic child was scaring her children is the one who doesn’t deserve to be blessed with children. The woman who wrote that letter needs to be called out and everyone needs to walk by her and spit in her face. Her children need to be taken away from her because of teaching hate.

    You see I have a autistic grandson and he is precious and I love him so much. We did not learn he was autistic until a year ago – actually most parents don’t know their child has a mental handicap until they are old enough to show the signs. If this woman who wrote that letter really cared she would try to help instead of complain. Sure it is hard raising a handicapped child and it is not fair to lock them up, they are human and eat and breath like everyone else.

    Sure you can state well you could of had an abortion or you should end its life after you learned the child’s disability but with this thinking where is the moral thinking – seriously Killing life is sad enough and I can not see how any mother could kill their own child especially after it was 3 or 4 years old when you learned of the disability????.

    On another note, our world needs to have more programs out there to help those who have handicapped children.

    Seems to me the only one who should move out of the neighbor hood is not the mother with the disabled child but the mother who has a problem being around those with disabilities.

    I believe in good Karma and I believe that if you pass bad Karma around it will come back to you threefold. So I wouldn’t want to be the one who wrote that letter because I feel she will lose a lot in her life.

    Situations like this is truly sad and I hate it.

    • The woman is pathetic. I bet she didnt expect the world to come down on her when she wrote that vile letter and I’m glad that it did! What a bitch!

      Yes we should all walk by her spit and hit her with rotten eggs because that’s exactly what she is…a rotten egg!

      Sent from my iPad

  4. Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for your comment. I signed the petition immediately. Your right it is very expensive to get legal action of any kind. At least the petition had over 600 signatures. All bloggers and book magazines need to pass this petition around and hopefully get this crap stopped. I wish I knew even the names of those individuals who gave those ratings because I would hound them and exposed them myself for who they really are.

    Sending you hugs girl. Have a awesome day!

    • 600? Yeah! There were 500 when I signed it earlier today. Woot!

      You have an awesome day too my friend! Hugs right back.🙂

      Sent from my iPad

  5. I love the internet. I truly do. From the first day I got online, I was in love. The internet opened up a whole new world for me. I was able to see great works of art, I was exposed to the thoughts and words of some of the greatest thinkers in the world, and I was able to meet a wide variety of new people, many of whom became friends and one that became the love of my life. But as wonderful as all that was, there was always a vile underbelly to the internet. A place where there lurked trolls…or worse. A place where the anonymity of the internet led a very small, very vocal group to spout their worst thoughts. The three tales you’ve highlighted here remind me why I rarely read the comment section on any post I read. I do believe that most people are good and decent, a belief bolstered by the rallying of people around both the autistic boy’s family as well as first-time author Lauren. The people offering their love and support to them raise my spirits. I can only hope that all those under attack in similar situations find the same kind of support.

    Free speech is a tough one. I’m not sure what the answer is, and I hope someone much smarter than I is working on it. Common sense says that we should be able to protect free speech while at the same time outlawing hate speech, but as most of us know there isn’t a lot of common sense in the law. Anyone that would write a hate-filled letter like that to an autistic boy’s family should be if not prosecuted, then at the very least exposed and publicly shamed. The Goodreads case is a bit simpler. It’s a business and they should have a policy that allows for the removal of abusive posts and people. I hope people will rally and the petition will make Goodreads see the error in their business model.

    I do still love the internet, even though its dark side seems to grow larger every day. The hope I see is that cases like these are exposed online and good people make their voices heard when they learn of these things. That’s where my hope lies. Maybe it’s because I was 10 years old when Star Wars came out and some part of me still believes that the good guys will eventually win. My heart goes out to anyone finding themselves on the receiving end of internet bullying, or bullying of any kind. I hope they all know just how many of us there are standing with them as they face what can seem like overwhelming opposition. Not all good people are as vocal as they should be, but know that they are all there with them.

    • Ohhhhh… You brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t agree with you more! Thank you for your insight and thoughtfulness. They are very much appreciated.🙂

      Sent from my iPad

  1. Pingback: Kiss And Say… or Freedom of (Hate) Speech Part Deux | Lisa Beth Darling

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