There is a tremendous article in the June issue of Harper's magazine, written by Ben Metcalf. It poses a very simple question, a question of free speech. Actually, it poses a question of free speech by posing a question. I was actually nearly breathless when I read the key paragraph:

Am I allowed to write that I would like to hunt down George W. Bush, the president of the United States, and kill him with my bare hands?
I actually stopped reading. I had a moment of panic, as if by reading the article I had been implicated in a crime. And that was what made it so interesting. The article goes on to explore the free speech implications of whether even asking the question is in some way a crime, and whether it should be. Along the way it takes (verbal) potshots at the president and the American right, all the while emphasizing (as I wish to emphasize, just in case) that in no way does the author actually wish to harm the president.

This article, by itself, made subscribing to Harper's worthwhile. I can only imagine what fun I have in store for me in the rest of the year's issues.

You can read the full article here.

Nikki commented:
It's all so very 'V for Vendetta' isn't it? Soon we will all need 6 knives. What strikes me is your shock to it, which is probably the same reaction a lot of people had or will have and likely what the author himself was attempting to achieve. I read it and had thought it was interesting, but not very brave. My take is that his use of humour diverted the real meat of what the point was, and made his point all at the same time--that no, without the humour, he could not say it and get away with it. Too bad he didn't try, though; it's just the type of thing needed to rattle the warmongering pimps that bully this country.
on Sun Jun 18 15:41:36 2006

David commented:
Yeah - I found it interesting that he had chosen to be so careful, although I did appreciate his pointing out how careful he was being. I think you're right, that further steps need to be taken to ensure that all free speech is protected, but I thought the article was a nice first step. And if he spawns discussions like the one we're having in enough circles, there's a chance the sort of challenge you would have liked this article to be will emerge. In which case this article will have done a genuine goodness.
on Sun Jun 18 22:39:16 2006

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