Freedom of speech

The First Amendment does not guarantee you an audience or a microphone. It does not protect you from others disagreeing with you. It does not grant you immunity from the consequences of what you say.

If you’re the CEO of a company and you say something that angers others enough that they decide to stop spending their money at your business, your right of free speech has not been violated.

Dear Muslims elsewhere in the world

Dear Muslims elsewhere In the world: Here in America we’ve got a few extremist religious nuts who blow up clinics and assassinate doctors. Sometimes they threaten to start shooting if a politician they don’t like looks like he or she might win an election. Sometimes they threaten violence over what consenting adults do with each other in private. A few of the really nutty ones seem to want you and us to fight an apocalyptic religious war. Looks like you’ve got similar problems.

But look, our religious crazies don’t represent the majority of us any more than yours do you. Most of us are live and let live types, generally prone to being nice and polite to people. Just like I bet most of you are. Just wanted you to know that, okay?

Sorry, people of America

Appalachian Spring

If there is anything human beings can perceive that is God, it has to be the closing few minutes of this piece. When I think of laying down all burdens, of letting the universe finally take my atoms back, and of going into the final dark gladly and with total, absolute peace, I think of the closing section of Appalachian Spring. To me, it is the definition of transcendence.

Lincoln

The new trailer for Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is out, and it knocks my socks off — it’s got three of my favorite things in it: history, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Steven Spielberg.

Critics are already slamming Day-Lewis’s choice to portray Lincoln with a high, soft voice. But that’s historical fact: contemporary accounts of Lincoln’s voice were that it was high-pitched and even sometimes shrill. And Lincoln was president in a time wholly unlike ours: people rarely saw or heard him — it was his words and actions alone that were reported in mass media.

But what can’t be denied is that Day-Lewis looks incredible as Abraham Lincoln. And the trailer seems to show the film will have all the elements that make Spielberg’s best movies so grand. Not to mention the fantastic supporting cast – all in all, this is one I’ll be there for on opening night.

“Lincoln” opens in limited release November 9th, and wide release November 16th.

An echo of 9/11

From a Genesis album nobody bought in 1996 (because Phil Collins had left the band by then), the song “One Man’s Fool” had eerily prescient lyrics that now echo in the aftermath of 9/11.

The song is also a warning that while some beliefs may be worth living for, they’re not worth killing for. Religions & philosophies based on exclusion (“only we have the truth, all others are evil!”) almost always lead to explosions of killing, violence, and shattered lives haunting the smoke of ruined buildings — the triumph of destruction over creation.

As the buildings crumble, tumble to the ground
And the dust-filled smoke rises in the air
You know that somebody somewhere looks with pride, they’re satisfied
To all who think they know
To everyone that knows that they’re right
D’you ever wonder why
D’you never ask the question even in the depths of night?
Now as the daylight fading ends another day
For too many life will never be the same
And it is all for the reason they will never understand
To all who think they know
To everyone that knows that they’re right
D’you ever wonder why
D’you never ask the question even in the depths of night?
And on the morning after do you realise
See the ruined faces and the ruined lives
Inside your head do you never have the thought a moment of doubt?
To all who think they know
To everyone that knows that they’re right
D’you ever wonder why
D’you never ask the question even in the depths of night?
There are only dreams one like any other
What means the earth to one or few means nothing to another
There are only dreams like any other
Drawing lines upon the sand, on the land, on the sea
Then dying to defend them seems quite meaningless to me
Don’t you know what means the earth to some or only one
Can mean just nothing nothing nothing to another
There are only dreams like any other
There are only differences, worth living but not dying for
One man’s joy makes another man weep
Nothing you can do is ever gonna change it
One man’s saint is another man’s fool
One man’s hot is another man’s cool
And when the war is over, won
Will there be peace for evermore?
Statues carved right out of stone, out of wood, made from gold
Praying for their mercy that won’t save their souls
Don’t you know what means the earth to some or only one
Can mean just nothing nothing nothing to another
There are only dreams like any other
There are only hopes and beliefs one like any other (there are only dreams like any other)
Worth living but not dying for
Living but not dying for not killing for
There are only dreams like any other like any other
To all of those who think that they know
All I can say yes all I can say
One man’s joy makes another man weep
Nothing you can do is ever gonna change it
One man’s saint is another man’s fool
One man’s hot is another man’s cool
There are only dreams like any other
There are only hopes and beliefs, one like any other
There are only dreams like any other…