The Right to Ridicule
I don’t need a state subsidy, a penal law, or any form of government force just to exercise my right to ridicule. I have ridiculed some sectors of our society without asking for any government grant or subsidy. I have ridiculed the Catholic Church and other religions without engaging in a public campaign to gag or to prohibit the Catholic Church or any other religions from influencing the government and spreading their mystical faith and out-of-this-world gospels.
I just realized this is the best time to join the “rightist” bandwagon. Political and social trends and indicators here in the Philippines and even in the United States show that the practice of flaunting “rightist” slogans and battle cry- such as the “right to education”, the “right to reproductive health care”, the “right to universal health care”, the “right to transportation” and the “right to everything” other people produced and to be confiscated by the state- has become a social fad. It has now matured into a new social culture, and the rightists have become the “New Hippies” of this country. Why, don’t we have a right to be a mooching hippie! So why not once and for all join this hippyish bandwagon and wear beatnikish Che and Mao T-shirts?
Now there’s a new type of right being pushed by the do-gooders and brilliant constitutionalists in Congress. Invoking the essence and eternal beauty of democracy, the authors and supporters of this fantastic and democratic legislative proposal called “right of reply”, which seeks to give any person the right to publish or broadcast his/her reply “free of charge”. What a great idea! Why not give a round of applause to the bill’s author Senator Aquilino Pimentel and his fanatic supporters- Senators Joker Arroyo, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Edgardo Angara, Richard Gordon, Gregorio Honasan, and Panfilo “Ping” Lacson? Thank you for advancing the cause of democracy in this country, Sirs!
Under this democratic bill, we would have a legal and political right to bombard radio stations, television networks, newspaper companies and internet sites and blogs with hate mails without paying a cent. Heck! Is it not the duty and responsibility of these capitalist, profit-making owners of media companies to serve the greater good? Why should we even care if they go broke for simply accommodating our lengthy, publicity-seeking replies? We have a right to demand ‘something’ from those who have more in life! Why should we give a damn about the fate of the divisive editor-in-chief, the publisher or station manager, or owner of the broadcast medium who might get penalized for failing or refusing to publish or broadcast our hate mails as mandated by the bill? Don’t we have the right to be heard? Why should we even care if the individualists and the selfish think that this species of right is tantamount to confiscation of private property? We’re all part of a big society and we have the obligation to serve the common good!
Is it not so obvious that we’re now living in a fantastic era wherein most intellectuals, academics and media personalities in this country support and even push for this magical concept of right? Well, it’s not really surprising that most media people condemn this “right of reply” brouhaha. What matters is that most of them still support people’s right to RH care, public education, public transport, cheap public housing, and more government welfare!
Have we not seen how some diverse groups of atheistic mystics and fanatic supporters of the RH bill applauded and praised a daredevil named Carlos Celdran for brusquely interrupting a Catholic mass? They said they have a right to insult and criticize the Church within its own property. The Catholic priests are being too politically meddlesome, so they just deserved it, some people say. Those modern-day fat friars don’t have a right to preach and practice their religion and to express their political exhortations if their actions endanger our great society! Oh yes! Based on their wonderful concept of right to free speech, we can now trample on the fundamental rights of others in the exercise of our own rights. Is this not a great idea?
How about the curious case of some statists and indoctrinated people at the University of the Philippines-Diliman and other public schools who believe they have a right to a highly subsidized education? They claim education is a necessity so the government has the duty to make it affordable and accessible to the public. That said, it means we also have to invent a shamanistic idea that would compel the government to provide us our daily needs, such as right to clothing, right to travel, right to higher wages, right to a longer vacation leave, etc.
Now this is my message to all my passionate critics: I also have a right to ridicule! My right to ridicule is constitutional, as it does not impose any obligation on others. Exercising this “right” is not tantamount to flouting the rights of others. Whenever I practice my right to ridicule, I don’t ask the government to force anybody to provide me a venue to perform this right, to subsidize me for expressing my mind, or to penalize anybody for refusing to give me a ‘media space.’ My ‘right to ridicule’ is totally harmless, legal, and even patriotic! I have a right to insult and piss off the neo-liberals, leftists, fascists and statists in this country so long as my action remains legal and constitutional.
To all my critics, you have a right to troll and to bash me and call me cool names in your own blog posts, but I have a right to trash some of your ‘cute’ comments. But if you want to force me to publish your lengthy hate mails or love mails, your only recourse is to blindly support Sen. Pimentel’s “right of reply” bill. Go kiss the ol’ man’s ass!
Indeed, I don’t need a state subsidy, a penal law, or any form of government force just to exercise my right to ridicule. I have ridiculed some sectors of our society without demanding any government grant or subsidy. I have ridiculed the Catholic Church and other religions without engaging in a public campaign to gag or to prohibit the Catholic Church or any other religions from influencing the government and spreading their mystical faiths and out-of-this-world gospels.
This is my right, you have yours… practice and defend it with your own life before it’s too late.