Let's call this meeting to order
It is my intention through this club to stifle what I believe to be irrational panic and fear over saying stupid things under the guise of humor. First there was Imus. Then there were these knuckleheads, who prank-called the Chinese restaurant on the air, and said offensive things. Last week or the week before, a Florida state legislator sent out an email to people urging them to pay their taxes on time because 12 million illegal aliens were counting on it. He said he was joking and not referring to citizens or legal residents anyway.
First order of business: Know that you can say whatever you want as long as you don't yell "nappy-headed ho" in a crowded theater, because there will be consequences.
For example, you are more than welcome to approach me if you see me on the street and call me the N-word - that's not "Nancy," in case my friend Aguedelo is reading this. But if you exercise your freedom in this case I may knock you out like Popeye did Brutus too many times to count or the way Deebo did Red in Friday. So while you're eye may be swollen shut you will be able to comfort yourself in the fact that you spoke freely. Hooray for the Constitution!
Second order of business: We have to let this free market system do its job. When people don't like something they stop partaking of it, naturally. If I taste food that is nasty to me, I guarantee you I'll never take another bite, unless, of course, the chef revamps the dish and demonstrates to me that it will taste differently the second time around. If your home town team sucks over the long term, you stop buying tickets and attending the games. When the team owner gets the hint, he'll spend more money, get better players, and improve the team. And when they start winning again you'll be drawn back to them. If radio hosts, for example, say things we don't like - things that aren't dangerous to society (like yelling "fire"), things that at best qualify as bad, distasteful humor, and at worst qualify as mean or some form of "ist," then don't listen to them. Find new radio shows to listen to, or get books on tape. Advertisers will eventually get the ratings numbers that show a dwindling audience and they will cast their lots with other, more popular shows. I guarantee you that will send a bigger, more moral message than forcing the stupid people to shut up.
Third order of business: Don't be stupid about free speech. We have to support it unequivocally. But don't let stupid, mean people use it as an excuse either. This goes back to the consequences thing. If someone is out of order - even in a lame attempt to be funny - call them out if it's necessary. If you can say it, then you should be willing to defend it, regardless of how you meant it.
Fourth order of business: Pick and choose your battles. The next person who gives you a funny look, don't automatically call the Anti-Eyeball Association and accuse that person of inappropriate use of peepers. The next person who says something stupid to you or around you, don't automatically make a federal case of it. It takes away credibility from those legitimate arguments. If I get on your case every time you say "poop," and beat you down for using a sophomoric description of that, people will get just as desensitized to my gripe as they are of your use of "poop." And when you eventually graduate to that poop word that starts with "S," folks might not listen to my complaint as seriously as they would have otherwise.
Fifth order of business: Let us forever relegate non-dangerous (again, no yelling "fire" or inciting violence or instigating crime with your words) speech to mole hill status. We have enough societal mountains to climb (like poverty, violent crime, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, etc.) that when we encounter a mole hill, let's agree to step over it and keep climbing.
As the founder, chairman, and sole board member of the "Say Whatever the Hell You Want" club, I am a dictator.
So I'm bringing this first meeting to a close.