Deviation from the norm

[steps to mic]

Ahem.

Nearly 38 years have passed since Lenny Bruce’s last performance in the smokey halls of Fillmore Auditorium. My birth seven years later meant that I missed that bit of history, but I want an encore.

People fear speaking up or out. Indeed, the fines for speaking loudly and bluntly are now enormous. That’s a shame.

I won’t climb up on this orange crate and pretend I love what Howard Stern does. Not my kind of funny. But you have to admit that a lot of people do find him funny – he’s lingered on the airwaves for the better part of my life.

Though crass, Stern represents a whole aspect of the American conversation. Police aren’t hounding Stern like they did Bruce, yet. But he’s endured a hefty financial hit for speaking his raunchy mind. He, and society by proxy, have gotten a big message from the FCC: deviation from the norm is not tolerated.

The FCC’s restrictive bent misses the point. Congress should rein in the commission, and protect the First Amendment.

Speech should be cherished, even unpleasant or not widely accepted speech. Frank Zappa (who was on that Fillmore ticket with Bruce) said, “Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”

Which brings me to this site. Obviously, it’s a forum for my writing. Watch yourself: It mixes commentary and straight reporting.

I will make off-handed observations about politics, culture or religion. (On randy days, it might be all three.) I’ll back up what arguments I can, and level with you otherwise.

Oh, and I’ll occasionally hand the mic off to other writers – guest baristas. The Special area is their orange crate. Sometimes, I like to climb off my crate, and hear what they to say.

Both myself and guest baristas will hold to my ethics and corrections policy. It’s just like that. Find that policy in the Who area of the sight. Feel free to drop a line to keep us honest.

Together, we’ll see just what kind of discourse we can engorge ourselves in. Welcome to www.blocletters.com.

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