Wednesday, October 13, 2010

No Martyrs for Free Speech


I see there's a big scandal in the sports world involving a sports agent. ESPN has freely covered the story, even though one of their own guys, Mel Kiper, is implicated by association. Mel Kiper engaged in no illegal actions, yet is on the hot seat. The fact is that sports, of all cultural realms, is way better at policing itself than the insular world of literature. In lit, everything is silenced.

I've called big names like Jonathan Franzen corrupt and still call them corrupt. I've gone after questionable acts by the well-connected big money-backed likes of Paris Review, PEN, and National Endowment for the Arts. Throughout, many law firms have read this blog, yet I've received not so much as a single letter from one of them about what I've written. You know why? Because IT'S ALL TRUE.

Meanwhile, other writers, except a handful, across the board, have remained silent about corruption, even when it hurts themselves. It no longer surprises me, just as it didn't surprise me when I encountered the same kind of reaction regarding the Molly Norris matter.

Molly's idea to have a Draw Muhammed Day was naive. Her idea was that if ten thousand, or a million, or 300 million Americans were to join in, it'd be impossible for extremist anti-free speech blackmailer fanatics to issue fatwas. They'd have to kill everyone. What Molly didn't bank on was the gutlessness of the American public-- particularly of writers and artists.

The Islamists well sense this gutlessness. They're encouraged by cowardice. It's a chief motivating factor behind their behavior. They believe America is a corrupt, decadent, weakening civilization. They know there will not be martyrs for free speech-- that we don't believe in our own principles enough to die for them and they're aware that we scarcely anymore believe in anything.

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