I like living in a place where I can say whatever I want, and fuck any of you cunts who believe different. I don’t have to fight for my right to free speech because it is guaranteed by the first amendment. But this only prevents the government from stopping me.
The truth is, we don’t have many freedoms. My personal blog is run by blogger.com, and if I say something they don’t like, they can take it down. Their servers, their service, their rules. I don’t particularly have much respect for this system, but I have mountains of respect for the fact that they do not abuse this right as a private entity by silencing me or anyone (that I’m aware of).
Not every company is this forward thinking.
Wal-Mart censors to an alarming degree. They sell special CDs, produced especially for them, which have naughty words muffled. They won’t sell certain books, notably works by anti-religious comic George Carlin. They even fire employees for criticizing their draconian policies. Wal-Mart will never get a cent from me until all of these rampant abuses are reversed.
But Wal-Mart is a retail store, not exactly a media outlet (though they are the largest distributor of music in the US, I would have to check on their status as a book vendor, but I suspect they do brisk business).Wal-Mart is powerful, but not powerful enough to actually silence someone.
The media outlets in America are ridiculously corrupt. They have their own political agendas. Some are obvious, like Fox News. Some are hidden behind the scenes in the form of policies regarding content, or even advertising restrictions.
Common sense economics would tell you that a company that is willing to pay the most for an ad is the one you want advertising in your paper or on your website. Apparently money isn’t everything for Conde Nast, the publisher of the magazines Vanity Fair and Vogue.
Besides their magazine publishing, Conde Nast also owns a little website called Reddit, which is a social news website. The idea behind the site is similar to digg.com: users share content they find and recommend it as good or vote it down as bad. It’s sort of a “news by committee” situation.
Reddit has a reputation for having pro-cannabis articles rankd very highly. So imagine my shock when the parent company, Conde Nast, refused to allow supporters of California Prop. 19 to advertise. Prop. 19 is the ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana in California.
Conde Nast’s official position on the matter: “As a corporation, Conde Nast does not want to benefit financially from this particular issue.”
While this is enough to harsh my buzz, I was heartened by Reddit’s response: they are running the ads anyway, for free. And why not? It’s essentially a public service announcement for the betterment of society, and plenty of media outlets provide free advertising spots for worthy causes.
Reddit: I salute you for following corporate’s orders while simultaneously finding a loophole that furthers a noble cause. When it comes to pot legalization, remember kids: Just Say Now.
Also on my shit list: Facebook, which also censors marijuana legalization ads. [Probably because only grandmas are on Facebook anymore...]