Sunday, October 09, 2005

A letter to P-I reporter D. Parvaz

In reference to Popping Off: The no-fly zone of free expression

Much of the news media is it a tizzy about Southwest and the t-shit incident. Most casting aspersions on Southwest for applying some previously unknown or rarely enforced decency standard. As you point out, "...who hasn't cussed up a storm on a flight...?" My guess is a person "cussing up a storm" cannot be heard by the entire plane, and they can easily stop. A shirt can be read from nearly anywhere on the plane, and stopping the patron from wearing mid-flight may prove embarrassing.

As for her first amendment free-speech rights, Constitutional rights CAN and ARE suspended by business and government all the time. The easiest place to see this is with fire-arms. That right, even for licensed citizens, is suspended on schools, bars, airports, airplanes, courthouses, workplaces... and the list goes on. It is just reasonable to believe that rights must be exercised with responsibility.

Wearing a shirt with a profanity like that is just plain (pun not intended) irresponsible. Regardless of who is demeaning whom, I don't want my children exposed to that kind of vulgarity. Why should a 5 year old have to see that?

But my biggest quandary over the reporting of this story is this: You allude to the word, but won't print it, the TV news alludes to the word, but "fuzzes" it out on the screen and won't say it. If it was so bad for Southwest to remove it from their place of business, why does the news remove it too?

If it was such a great thing, shouldn't you print it? It looks like a touch of hypocrisy to me.
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