Monday, June 25, 2007

Bangs For Bongs

The Volokh Conspiracy looks at the "Bongs 4 Jesus" decision holding "that schools can punish student speech reasonably believed to promote illegal drug use". The majority opinion ruled that:

The common-sense understanding of the phrase 'bong hits' is that it is a reference to a means of smoking marijuana. Given [Frederick's] inability or unwillingness to express any other credible meaning for the phrase, I can only agree with the principal and countless others who saw the banner as advocating the use of illegal drugs.

However, Chris Weigant thinks the Supremes got it wrong, because in ruling that the banner contained a pro-drug message without being political speech, which would then be protected, they were only kidding themselves.

So there you have it, kids. If you want to (a) get on national television with a stunt, (b) have a message guaranteed to annoy people, and most importantly, (c) really enrage your school's principal -- then you've got to word the message carefully. So remember, don't say "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS," say instead: LEGALIZE BONG HiTS 4 JESUS.

I'm so glad that the legal system does a good job protecting free speech and allowing debates which allow even the criticism of religion. I wonder what would have happened if the student banner had read "Bong hits for 4 Mohammed"? Then the two finger rule might have applied. Michael Yon reported on the fate of cigarette smokers in Baqubah. "On the evening of the 24th I spoke with a local Iraqi official, Colonel Faik, who said the Muftis would order the severance of the two fingers used to hold a cigarette for any Iraqis caught smoking." Now this has nothing to do with the "Bongs 4 Jesus" decision, but it does illustrate how concerned Western society is with preserving the refinements of its freedom on the one hand, while giving away its substance with both hands on the other.


Blogger Sammler said...

You can't do something with both hands and on the other hand.

6/26/2007 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

It is hard to believe how the elites (or perhaps it makes perfect sense) have come to read the first amendment when it comes to speech.

The Supreme Court and law deigns to protect virtual child pornography as a first amendment right, but you dare not mention the name of a politician near an election, unless you have jumped so many hoops and bars.

Funny how we have to choose and most seem to choose to restrict political speech.

6/26/2007 05:49:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

This is nothing new. Kids at school don't enjoy the same scope of freedoms as we do.

In other words, it's a specifically parameterized holding. The fact is, over the past 40 or so years, the Supreme Court has been friendlier to free speech than at any other time in our history.

Congress, on the other hand...

6/26/2007 07:54:00 AM  
Blogger Amir Ali Tayyab said...

I request MODERATORS to remove BELMONT CLUB's abuses against me

As long the abusive content against me online at will remain at the blog of Belmont Club, this blog of mine against them will continue as a protest. As soon that is removed, it will be removed accordingly.

Amir Ali Tayyab

6/26/2007 08:26:00 AM  
Blogger Craigicus said...

If it were a voting adult, off of school property, standing out on the street -- then I think it should be permitted.

Children are not majors but minors. They don't have full rights but they can gain them if they only survive until the right age -- that's why we don't see it as a threat to liberty that we restrict what kids do.

For public order, even an 18 or 19 year old kid who is disrupting the school flow by flying such a banner, should be sanctioned, maybe even expelled. It is only fair.

6/28/2007 09:31:00 PM  

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