A Digital Monument to the Freedom of Speech

Silence is not golden. It is red, white, and blue.

“You have the right to free speech, as long as you’re not dumb enough to actually use it.”

Joe Strummer

I have published my unvarnished opinion at every opportunity, a personal success I am usually proud of. In high school, I made friends with others who were like-minded and I networked our websites together. I felt like that wasn’t enough, and provided an open section allowing anyone to make anonymous comments. Within one week of doing this, I was threatened with a lawsuit and expulsion for anonymous statements I had published but not written myself. Aside from these empty threats, the school brought in a psychologist who read everything I wrote and questioned me about my drug and alcohol usage. Upon learning that I had never so much as had a drink of alcohol, she was unable to punish me with further counseling and praised my writing. Because of her evil reverse psychology and the other trauma imposed on me by the administration, I didn’t write my opinions like that again for several years. Today, I get a special rush from writing that only a few others can understand.

I can’t help but identify with Julian Assange, at least in a small way. WikiLeaks is enabling and encouraging the freedom of anonymous speech, which is dangerous to the natural balance of power and runs contrary to America’s cultural standards. I will never keep my mouth shut, even if the consequence is death.

You see, the freedom of speech is not just about being able to criticize the government or your high school. It’s a matter of self-expression, personal value, and the pursuit of happiness. Even the least likely of people are shackled with silence, it is our culture and our nature. I have made every effort to remove myself from that prison, to express that which I am told is better left unsaid. It has been nothing if not an alienating experience and I don’t claim any kind of victory. With the Chronicle I have pushed the limits of speech in a purposeful attempt to highlight this for the world. I’ve of course been accused of hatred, attention seeking, and insanity. To that I almost feel thankful. I would never deny my own humanity.

I like to think of the Chronicle as a digital monument to the freedom of speech. I can’t tell you what it all means, or if it means anything at all. I just know that when I use the word love, I’m the one who’s fucked in the head, I’m the one who’s scary.

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