Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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or Search by State





Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, October 24, 2008  
Free speech = free thought = uncensored writing = books = education = Great American Book Drive.

Freedom of Speech week is the perfect time to celebrate the right of free speech by sharing words with others and helping kids learn to read. Donating your books could help unlock the Universe for children. Give 'em the keys by donating books.

If you're in Chicago this is the weekend to take your books to the Open Books donation drop! Woo hoo!

The Great American Book Drive at Open Books!

8:30 AM

Tuesday, October 21, 2008  
Delta Dawn is stretching her songwriting wings. Exploring new ideas and styles. Remember when Ween went country? Well, Delta's going hip hop. Takin' it to the street, man. Rappin' 'bout free speech. It's like Schoolhouse Rock for the cool kids. Just a little something from the other side of 8 Mile to tide you over until the new Eminem drops.

Delta Dawn
Hip Hop don't Stop
Communicate, relate, debate, berate
Conjugate, liberate, set the record straight.

The Bill of Rights grants the freedom to write.
Words spark the flames passion ignites.
Lyrics, books, blogs and even bad poetry
We have them all because speech is free.

Repress, oppress, depress, digress
Cause distress and force to confess
Restrain, refrain, nothing to gain
Censor, ban, not allowed to explain

Choose words, use words,
We can even abuse words.
Say what we want because speech is free
But freedom is right and a responsibility

He said, she said, words filled with dread
Words said in anger, not using your head.
Problems ignite between friends and relations,
Could be resolved with good communication.

Accusations, allegations, permutations, sighs
Gumption, presumptions, corruption, lies.
We say what we want because speech is free
But freedom is right and a responsibility.

Say words, spell words, write words, sing words
Speech is free, let your words be heard.
Learn them, read them, share them, use them,
Believe in them, stand behind them, own them.

Freedom of speech grants the right to speak freely
No matter your language, even Swahili.
There are exceptions, some words aren’t protected
Freedom of speech pleas will be rejected.

Words warning of clear and present danger
Where no danger exists will provoke anger.
Don’t yell fire unless something’s blazing
Free speech won’t protect incorrect phrasing.

Words with a tendency to cause illegal activities
Will have officials investigating your proclivities.
Don’t write words tending to things illegal
Free speech won’t prevent a search spread eagle.

When words causing lawlessness are incited
Chaos ensues, angry mobs get overexcited.
Don’t incite, extol or provoke abandonment of laws
Free speech won’t prevent jail time, no matter the cause.

When tempers flare words get defamatory
Attacks become personal and accusatory.
Mind your manners and words no matter what they screech
Dissing people isn’t covered under freedom of speech.

“Them’s fightin’ words” Yosemite Sam yells at Bugs Bunny
But provoking violence with words is not funny.
When fighting words are said out of anger or a grudge
Free speech won’t protect you from the judge.

The government’s a proud and sensitive beast,
The Feds don’t take kindly to seditious speech.
Complaining is fine, but threats are not
Free speech won’t protect a sinister plot.

Speak your mind, write your words, even cuss
Say what you want, freedom speaks for all of us.
The First Amendment of the Constitution
Grants the freedom of speech as a solution.

The two most foul words in the English language
Are protected by right but cannot be assuaged.
They strike the core of freedom and pack a powerful wallop
The most offensive of all, the words are “Shut up.”

We say what we want because speech is free
But freedom is right and a responsibility.

Communicate, relate, debate, berate
Conjugate, liberate, set the record straight.

Labels: ,


1:19 PM

Monday, October 20, 2008  
You read blogs. Some of you write blogs. So. Freedom of speech isn’t just a patriotic catch-phrase to you. Free speech is integral to your every day life. For better or worse, richer or poorer, good times and bad, blogs are the penultimate manifestation and embodiment of the principles of free speech. Anyone can say anything on a blog.* Which is a really good thing. It’s sad that it took over 200 years to fully realize the maximum potential of freedom of speech. But it is almost fully actualized, now, and that’s what matters. If you can gain access to a computer, you can publish a blog and tell the whole entire world what you think about…anything. You can be brilliant or, well, not so much. Anyone can espouse, pontificate, exclaim, rant, promulgate or even write really bad poetry and the entire world can have access to it.

That's staggering. Really. Every now and then I pause to think about that. Usually it's an email from someone I don’t know that triggers the Overwhelming Magnitude of the Power of Blogging. They stumbled across the blog, found some words that touched them in some way (positive or negative) and sent me an email. The power of words, thanks to freedom of speech, brings us together. Communication. Blogs are so commonplace, now, that I don’t think we give much thought to the big picture very often. They just are.

But blogging is a pretty big deal when you think that until 12 years ago it was difficult to tell your friends a change in plans about where and what time to meet for drinks after work. And now we can tell the entire Universe that Margot is running late because her boss is having a hysterectomy and Margot has to cover for her at a meeting and will be an hour late and Chloe has to pick up the new knobs for the cabinet doors before the place closes at six and she'll be on the other side of town so by the time she and Margot get there Ye Olde Watering Hole will be too crowded for the whole group to get a table so Jen suggested we meet at New Undiscovered Great Place she went on that date with that guy last week so everyone meet there at 6:15. (Though I'm not in favor of censoring blogs this type of communication truly is better suited for texting. Ahem.)

This is official Freedom of Speech week. I know, I know. I’m sick of lame “Official…week/month/days,” too. But. On the other hand, on the plus side, it’s not an entirely bad thing to take a few minutes to give thought to or raise consciousness. Not raising awareness, raising consciousness. That’s one of my pet peeves about “official” weeks/days/months. “We’re raising awareness…” no, actually, you are (or should be) raising consciousness on a topic. Most of us are aware of breast cancer, animal abuse, banned books, freedom of speech, etc. The goal of these “official” weeks is to get people engaged, get them talking, get them active, get the topic out of the passive cobwebby part of their brain and into the active conscious, and conscientious, parts of their brains.

So. I’m on board with Freedom of Speech Week. As a blogger it’s my right, responsibility and obligation to pay homage to that which gives me the right to let the entire Universe read the words I exorcise from my head.

Why do I blog? I have some sort of mental illness relating to words, I’m an incredibly fast typist and the physical act of releasing the words in my head is cathartic for me. I’m more certain than ever that there is something not quite right in my head. Words, words, words, words…so many of them which won’t leave me alone, they plague me, like a telltale heart, beating and beating and beating loud and louder and driving me absolutely nuts until I quash them, exorcise them, release them from my head through my fingers and onto the keyboard.

That’s my excuse. What’s your excuse for reading them?!

Doesn’t matter.

And that’s the beauty of freedom of speech. I’m free to exorcise my word demons to my head’s content and you’re free to read them. My reasons, your reasons, and that guy’s reasons are all very different. But it doesn’t matter. We’re free to write, read and say whatever we want. No fear, no persecution, no harm done.

Power to the people. Right on.

Let’s talk about my profession for a moment, shall we? Marketing. Ugh. I know. Some people think it’s “weird” that I, a creative marketing professional, have no marketing on my blog. There are no sponsors, no AdSense, no pay-per-click links, nothing which “us marketing folks” love to use to hawk all manner of goods and services. People say, “Trillian, heal thyself.” Or, well, that’s paraphrasing. They say things more like, “Trillian, you’re in marketing. Why don’t you use your professional skills and contacts to market yourself?” In real life I do. I brand the heck out of myself. I know my brand really, really well.

But.

This blog is my marketing-free safe zone. Sure. The blog has a certain image and I’m pretty clear on what that image is. At least I think I am. I know enough about it to brand the heck out of it, maybe even capitalize on it. But in doing so I would pimp out my personal safe-place.

The blog is my safe word. Or safe words. It’s my “Stop! I’m not comfortable with this and I need a break!” place. And by “this” I mean life in general – work, family, friends, men, money, you name it.

Marketing space sold on the blog, or marketing the blog, would bring an element of pressure which would squelch me. This is about me exorcising words in my head. I know. I said that already. I’m saying it again for emphasis. Maybe sometimes I make a valid point or write something utterly stupid. Sometimes my words make people mad. Sometimes they make people laugh (at me or with me, either way is fine with me, by the way). Sometimes I make people think, “Man, that woman is a mess, why do I read this stuff?” That’s all coincidental, even accidental.

I’d love to be clever enough to contrive all of these words. That would indicate I have power over them. That would indicate that the words bespeak some genius plan to use words. That would indicate a level of consciousness and organization.

There is no plan. There is no organization. There is no consciousness. There certainly is no genius. There is no control. I’m not consciously contriving thoughts, words, sentences. They’re just there. They just are. And I'm free to release them. Freedom of speech gives me the all-clear to unleash them (in accordance to the the rules below, that is).

In my daily life I have to create, plan, organize through filters. I typically have a lot of ideas but I have to filter them. I have to step outside myself and see, hear and think like other people, sometimes people very, very different from me. I have to filter my thoughts through a marketing funnel. I have to think. I have to manipulate my thoughts and ideas. I have to filter the words and ideas in my head. My speech is not free. There are limits, boundaries and filters.

And it’s not just at work. I try very hard to be respectful of other people. I filter what I say to people. My head is filled with words about people I encounter at Walgreen’s, on the CTA, in the Secretary of State's office. Freedom of speech allows me the right say whatever I want. But respect, common courtesy and fear for my personal safety stifles my tongue. And I'm okay with that. It's a good thing. The woman with the two inch fingernails and imperceptible use of the English language working the checkout at Walgreen’s does not care what I think about her customer service skills and lack of ability to do her job. There’s nothing to be gained by sharing those words with her.

I filter what I say to my family and friends. I don’t want to say anything which would hurt them. I don’t mind offending some of them, but not to the point of hurting them or criticizing them. Being a good friend and being yourself are typically two different things. You can deny it all you want but I know we all hold back, filter ourselves, with friends and relatives. Some of us are lucky enough to have a good friend, someone with whom we confide our thoughts, secrets, longings and fears. But. Even so. There’s a filter. We all have a limit, a point where we know, or want to stop. It varies from friend to friend and subject to subject, but we filter what and how much we share of ourselves. I’m a very open and honest person, but not to the point that my friends and family would worry about me. If my family knew how lonely and scared I am they’d feel horrible. They’d worry even more about me than they already do. There’s no point in that – there’s nothing they can do to fill my long lonely nights with meaningful companionship. And there’s nothing they can do to help me feel less afraid. Heck, they’re scared, too. So I filter the words.

But here on the blog I can say whatever words are in my head.

And yes. If we were to pay true homage to freedom of speech we’d spend the week going around saying exactly what we think. That would be true freedom of speech. Freedom of the confines of respect, convention, retribution and polite society which gag our words. But collectively taking a truth syrum and spending a week freeing our speech of its usual leash would be catastrophic. Though. It would be interesting. And the resulting litigation would provide job security for the legal profession for the next 100 years. And that alone is reason enough to keep our words in polite check.

And it all neatly closes the circle as we go back to blogs.

This is purity of thought. Unfiltered words.

Free speech in it's purest form. From my head to your eyes.

I’m not smart. I’m not stupid. But I’m not smart. I make mistakes. I do stupid stuff. I’ve made some horrible decisions which have negatively impacted my life. I lead a very regular, increasingly boring life. I am perhaps a bit more observant than some other people, a bit more perceptive than some other people, and I have the ability to articulate. But that doesn’t make me smarter, better, wiser, or more profound than anyone else.

The blog merely provides me an outlet, a place for catharsis in exorcising the words. A place for pure freedom of speech.

I’m not going to allow marketing to taint that.** The second I allow AdSense or any other form of sponsorship on the blog is the second a filter goes in place. I’d have to think about what words I use, if only for a second or two. “Will this annoy or anger sponsor X or be incongruent with what’s being sold in the banner ad?” Sure, a blogger can have credible sponsors and ads which don’t sully or taint their words, sure. But I don’t want them here. They taint the purity of thought, they take away the innocence of blog, they take the free out of freedom of speech.

It took us over 200 years for us to evolve societally***, politically and technologically to the point where blogs arrived and empowered people, everyone, with true, pure freedom of speech. I refuse to let marketing sully the long and hard earned purity of freedom of my speech.

Power to the people.



Below are some FAQs about freedom of speech. A little refresher course in the basics.

Q. What is Freedom of Speech?
A. In the U.S., the First Amendment prevents the federal government from arbitrarily and unnecessarily interfering with an individual’s speech.

Q. Where does Freedom of Speech come from?
A. Freedom of Speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, free speech protection is extended to prevent similar actions by state governments.

Q. Is only actual speech protected by the First Amendment?
A. No. The Supreme Court has held that certain forms of non-verbal speech, called symbolic speech, can be covered by the First Amendment. To be considered symbolic speech, your non-verbal actions must have some meaning or message. For example, wearing a yellow ribbon in support of a solider would be considered symbolic speech. Another example occurred in 1969, in the case of Tinker v. Des Moines, when the Supreme Court held that actions of students wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War counted as speech under the First Amendment, and was therefore protected.
In 1989, in Texas v. Johnson, the Court said that burning an American flag is also constitutes symbolic speech and therefore is protected so long as it is done in order to convey a message.

Q. Does freedom of speech mean I can say anything I want?
A. No. There are various restrictions that have been placed upon this freedom in the United States. The following types of speech are examples of "unprotected speech" that can be restricted, either by a court or legislature:
Clear and Present Danger
Speech is not protected if it presents a clear and present danger. The most common example is that the First Amendment would not protect someone who falsely shouted “Fire!” into a crowded theater.

Blogworld translation: “I went to a Godzilla film fest. Mothra rocks, man. You should have seen all those Japanese people running for their lives.” Is perfectly within the confines of freedom of speech protection.

“I was working on some atom experiments in the lab on campus next to the Fermi Nuclear station and I accidentally unleashed an atomic reaction, a monster of Godzilla –like proportions, not even Mothra can save us, run for your lives!” will a) not be taken seriously, b) cause your blog readers to question your mental health and/or c) cause a riot, a stampede endangering lives. If the context of your blog is otherwise non-fictional, and you have not, in fact, unleashed an accidental atomic or nuclear reaction, but a stampede and riot ensued from your "warning," freedom of speech will not protect you when the lawyers come calling you to court.

“Tendency” Speech
This is speech that has a “tendency” to lead to illegal action and thus is not protected.

Blogworld translation: “I’m going to the Phish show. There’s a bunch of us meeting up in the parking lot before the show. My cousin’s friend he met in Jamaica will be there, too and he’s bringing party favors. It’s going to be awesome. Look for the rusty ’92 Caravan selling cookies and brownies” will lead to people showing up looking for weed and hash brownies. Drugs are illegal. Consequently your freedom of speech will not be protected.

“I’m going to the Phish show next week. I’ve got my oxygen mask ready so other Phellowshipers and I can avoid a contact high” seems perfectly within the boundaries of free speech. However, there’s gray area here. A good attorney fighting for the family of a concert-goer who died of an overdose or other drug-related cause during or after the concert will argue that by stating that the use of pot was expected to be so prevalent that you publicly stated you had to wear an oxygen mask to avoid a contact high. You admitted and even advertised that going to the Phish concert would be an ideal place to partake in drugs.

Instead, in the case of a Phish concert you probably want to keep it to, “I’m going to a concert” to avoid all possible issues around the “tendency” caveat. You can talk about what you saw for sale in the parking lot before the show and the use of illegal substances at the show after the event when the danger of you losing freedom of speech under the tendency restriction has past.

Incitement Speech
Speech that is intended to incite or actually produce immediate lawlessness is also not protected.

Blogging, “I hacked Apple and I’ve got Steve Jobs’ iTunes login and password. Here it is: ______________. Have fun!” will not only find you unprotected under freedom of speech, it will also show how utterly stupid you are and that you deserve all the jail time you get.

Whereas, “I have a file sharing site and you’re welcome to take a look to see if there’s anything you want.” is absolutely within free speech boundaries. Again. Gray area. The actual sentence does not produce immediate lawlessness and the responsibility is passed on to anyone who does anything other than have a look around the file sharing site. Freedom of speech will protect that sentence, but it won’t protect you from a lot of other laws that Metallica and Dr. Dre spent a lot of money litigating.

Defamatory Speech
A statement that damages another person’s reputation is considered defamatory and unprotected. The Supreme Court has made certain allowances for statements that could be considered defamatory but are either made in reference to a public person or can be shown to be true.

Blogging: “My friend Chloe Widness**** is an habitual liar. She even lied under oath so her husband wouldn’t find out about the affair she’s having with their neighbor’s 17-year-old son.” is absolutely not protected under freedom of speech. For several reasons. You’re claiming your friend has a history of lying, that she committed perjury and that she’s committing statutory rape. You’re also implicating a child and his parents. Freedom of speech will not protect you. You’re going to need a lawyer. And I suggest you find a team of trained therapists and perhaps an ethics advisor to be on 24/7 call for the rest of your life because there’s clearly something mentally very wrong with you and you obviously have no moral compass. If you know this stuff is going on a blog is not the place for you to alert the proper authorities. You also want to find a good witness protection program, too. Even if you blog defamatory statements which endanger no one but betray a friend, you need to consider counseling. And maybe re-evaluate the people you choose as friends. You have a blog and trouble keeping confidences. You really need to stick to friends who lead lily white lives or find telling their secrets to the world as titillating as you do.

See? Isn’t this fun? Could my statement about your mental acuity and morality be protected under freedom of speech? No. It's defamatory. If you're not a public person freedom of speech will not protect me or my words about you.

This is perhaps the most relevant freedom of speech issue in the blog world. Maybe you don’t read blogs where people dish on their friends and relatives. Yay you!

However, you may read and even post comments on blogs and message boards. Uh huh. Oh yes. Even there you have to be very careful about what you write. Freedom of speech will not protect you if you are defamatory to the author or other commentators. Comment wisely. This is a huge area which is getting a lot of attention due to the unfortunate online bullying issues plaguing kids in school. It’s not just kids whose rights are being protected. Once more with feeling: Comment wisely and respectfully or don’t comment at all. Or, defame at your own risk. CyberBullying is the ugly spawn of blogging and online networking.

However, saying “The Hills is the fakest reality show ever. The actors on The Hills are HORRIBLE! They’re actors who weren’t good enough to get roles on real television shows but because they can’t sing or dance they’re not allowed on American Idol or any of its spawn. Lauren Conrad’s fashion line is a joke and Audrina Partridge should stick to centerfolds” is acceptable. These are public persons. Further, they are public persons who put themselves out there in roles which are intended to cause controversy. The whole point of The Hills is to sell skin care products, cosmetics, fashion products and apparently sunglasses. (I can't stand the show so I don't know if their ad sales reps are tapping into the waterproof mascara market. The show provides a prefect backdrop for cutting to commercials for waterproof mascara. Lauren Conrad all raccoon eyed from crying or Aundrina splashing around a pool then cut to a mascara commercial. Ta dah! Marketing genius.) By arousing “controversy” in the form of fake arguments and alliances The Hills is trying to incite people to form opinions about the characters. The whole point is to create buzz so people watch the show. More viewers means more advertising dollars. So go ahead and blog all the venom you want about The Hills. Freedom of speech protects you. And this is when I sigh and say I’m proud to be an American. My Bill of Rights allows me to publicly trash The Hills. Rock on. There is justice.

Fighting Words
Similar to speech that is considered to have a "tendency" to incite illegal action, fighting words are unprotected. In Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 1942, fighting words were defined as those having "a direct tendency to cause acts of violence by the persons to whom, individually, the remark is addressed."

So, you went ahead and publicly blogged about your friend Chloe being a perjurous liar engaging in sex acts with a minor. I told you not to do it but you did anyway. Chloe’s sister finds the blog and sends the link to Chloe. Chloe’s going to be really mad. She’s probably going to show up at your house ready to rumble. Her 17-year-old sex partner is probably going to be pretty mad, too. And his parents are going to be furious. And Chloe’s husband is going to be really, really mad.

Especially since you also stated that you couldn’t blame Chloe for finding pleasure outside her marriage because her husband’s penis is really small and he has genital herpes. All these people are going to be so mad they’ll be pushed to their limit of tolerance and resort to violence against you. Freedom of speech will not protect you.

“Fighting Words” should be pretty obvious. I can’t think of a situation where “fighting words” could be mistaken for anything other than fighting words. I think we all know fighting words when we say or hear them. Blogging fighting words is the same as saying them in a barroom or PTA meeting. If you’re stupid and/or insensitive enough to blog anything resembling fighting words you might want to consider anger management counseling. Just a good natured suggestion. Don’t hit me.

Blogging, “Chloe’s dress is ugly” is okay - those aren't fighting words. If it makes her mad enough to resort to violence then the problem lies within her. Freedom of speech will protect your right to state your opinion of her dress, but it won’t protect you from the moves she’s learned at kick-boxing class.

Seditious Speech
Seditious speech is that which advocates violently overthrowing the government or resisting lawful authority. This type of speech is unprotected and can be restricted because it endangers national security.

Okay. A smart person will avoid all words which could in any way be construed as seditious. Even as a joke, or in sarcasm, this is just not a good idea. So much so that I’m a little paranoid about typing an example of what not to do. Yes. I am afraid of my government.

“My Michigan Militia brigade buddies and I are finally ready to come out from underground and put our plan into action next weekend. We’re going to show those pinko bastard commie Fed sons of bitches they can’t push us around, we the people won’t stand for it. We got lots of ammo, this time we’re going to employ counter psyops on them, give ‘em a taste of their own ‘intelligence.’” Blogging this is really, really, really bad idea. On a lot of levels. Freedom of speech will not protect you. (Attention FBI and other authorities, this is merely an example. A fictional quote. I am not now, nor have I ever been a member of the Michigan Militia nor do I endorse their actions, behaviors or opinions.)

However, you could say something like, “After what happened in Waco and Ruby Ridge I can see how people might be concerned about how far government agencies will go to make an example out of people who don’t tow the party line. Sure, things at Waco were not good and kids were involved but the Feds showed up and the kids died anyway, I mean, the whole thing was horrible and I can see people getting scared and angry at the government for their lack of planning and accountability. It kind of feels like Martial Law and things that feel like Martial Law don’t sit well with people who already have conspiratorial feelings about the government.” You are not saying that you are going to overthrow the government, you are saying that you can understand the fear and confusion which might provoke people to fight back against their government. Freedom of speech will protect you, but it won’t stop your friendly neighborhood cyberagent from keeping an eye an your blog.

Q. What are my free speech rights in regards to my business? Am I allowed to say anything I want in my advertising?
A. No. The Supreme Court has created special rules for "Commercial Speech" – that is speech that is uttered only for the economic interest of a party. Historically, the government was allowed to completely regulate commercial speech. In recent years, the Court has recognized commercial speech as being protected under the First Amendment; however, it is still viewed as having a lower level of protection than other types of speech.

Q. What are my free speech rights in a public school?
A. The Court has long held that public school students don't "leave their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door." This means that a student’s constitutional rights are protected even at school. However, the Court has also recognized a need for school officials to ensure the safety and education of their students.
Consequently, as a student, your speech can be regulated and limited within the school-setting. You cannot threaten another student or encourage violence, or promote the illegal use of drugs or alcohol. A 2007 Supreme Court decision, Morse v. Frederick, reiterated this position when the Court stated: "The First Amendment does not require schools to tolerate at school events student expression that contributes to those dangers [of illegal drug use]." The Court has given school officials the ability to restrict student speech that they consider dangerous and harmful to other students.

Q. What happens if I say something that isn’t considered protected?
A. You can say whatever you please – however, if your speech is considered unprotected (for example if you create a "clear and present danger" by yelling "Fire!" in a theater), you are responsible for whatever results from your speech, either in regards to endangering others or punishment by lawful authority.

Blogging translation: You have the right to write whatever you want, even on your public blog. The act of writing is not restricted. However, you are responsible for what those words provoke, invoke, imply or respresent. Freedom of speech grants the right to speak your mind. Freedom of speech will protect your words. However, it will only take you so far in a court of law. Your words are protected but your actions, intentions and the results of your words are not protected under Freedom of Speech.

*Blog sites have shut down blogs which are in violation of the site’s rules, which are typically “anything goes except blogs which fall into the above categories of Clear and Present Danger, “Tendency” Speech, Incitement Speech, Defamatory Speech. Fighting Words, Seditious Speech. Which explains the preponderance of porn blogs. Porn, unless it involves kids under 18 years old, is free speech. There have been some instances where porn involving domination/submission photos and essays came under fire and a few have been shut down using the “fighting words” exception as reason to take them offline. I’m not into porn so I really should not sound off on this. I don’t know enough about the industry or the people who enjoy it to have a credible opinion. However, my general opinion is that if a person (over the age of 18) allows someone to tie/shackle them up and whip, spit on or tickle them with feathers, they’re probably okay with it – consenting adults and all that. This could be argued under the life, liberty and pursuit of happiness section of the Constitution. However, blogging about it is another thing entirely, that is, if you want to use freedom of speech as your protection. The dam is broken, though, and there are loads of dom blogs out there. If you have content (porn or otherwise) which someone (anyone) could argue falls into one of the freedom of speech exceptions it’s best to publish your blog independent of public blogging sites. Your site, your domain, your ftp server: Your rules.

**Yes. I have links to the ASPCA and other charities. I have links to bands and artists and sometimes I even offer shopping ideas. Please. Hear these words. No one pays me a cent when I put these on the blog. I’m merely sharing information about something I found or like which you might benefit from, too.

***See? There’s an example. Societally. It’s not a word. But it should be. Says me. The word is in my head. Socially is not the correct term for what I mean. Societal is the correct meaning, but it’s not an adjective and the sentence structure and thought requires an adjective. Societally. Freedom of speech. Hey, if college graduates can enter the workforce saying, “Where’s mines at?” and continue to be professionally employed, I can make up the word societally.)

****Fictional person. Any resemblance to a real life person is unintentional so to all the Chloe Widness' out there, I'm sorry. I had to make up a name and that's the name that came to me. If you happen to also be an adulterous liar with an appetite for underage boys wow, what a coincidence. But don't blame me. Guilt stares back at you from the mirror, not from my blog.

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