A slap in the face of free expression

A slap in the face of free expression

Many things can be (and have been) said about Sunday night’s wild encounter between Chris Rock and Will Smith at the Oscars, Save Jerseyans.

An underdiscussed angle thus far?

What the slap heard ’round the world says about the state of free speech in this country.

We’re going to assume for the sake of this discussion that Smith’s slap wasn’t staged. A central tenant of American civilization since the beginning has been the right of self expression. You have a right to say what you want – with some very narrow exceptions like “yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” – without fear of violence. Yes, the First Amendment was primarily intended to limit government overreach into the sphere of speech, but tolerance of fair comment is also baked into the fabric of our society. John Adams lost reelected to Thomas Jefferson after the Alien and Sedition Acts offended revolutionary sensibilities.

Plenty of Leftists are cheering on Smith for literally smacking down Rock, someone who’s uncoincidentally been on their shit list ever since he shared a Federalist article critical of woke comedy back in 2018. Will Smith’s son (whose Twitter profile consists of three letters: “BLM”) currently boasts one million likes for the following Sunday night post-slap tweet:

Don’t pretend you’re surprised.

Unlike the First Amendment, Cancel Culture isn’t careful to avoid viewpoint discrimination. Proponents embrace it. If something or someone says something that violates the culture’s current values? Said person not only doesn’t have a right to say the unwoke thing, but Cancel Culturalists believe heretics shouldn’t have an expectation of immunity from violence. Here’s a list of just ten times Democrats urged violence against Donald Trump and/or his backers.

The Left thinks Chris Rock deserved it even though, regardless of how you feel about the joke in question, he was doing his job: roasting the audience, an long-standing awards show tradition. Ask Ricky Gervais all about it.

More disturbing still, they think it needed to be done. Remember: this is the same crew that’s foaming at the mouth over the Academy playing Toto’s universally-loved ballad “Africa” when black actors were on the stage.

These people really, truly believe they have a universe-granted right to silence – and smack, open-handed… or worse! – anyone who doesn’t agree with them and their worldview. Will Smith won’t be charged, but he did win an Oscar. Says it all, doesn’t it?

Ironically, you and I know that the very epitome of privilege is assaulting someone and dropping F bombs on live television with zero expectation of consequences. That’s Will Smith’s reality.

The rest of Americans who aren’t so lucky (and who don’t watch awards shows) are being coerced into playing by a different set of rules. Don’t say you weren’t warned.