I've been aware of this for some time, but her most recent post, about the Danish cartoon controversy (God, I feel stupid just writing those words), made it especially clear. I've been so disgusted by the whole affair that my response has pretty much boiled down to "Europeans are unfunny-cartoon-drawing dillbags, and the Muslims who are rioting and setting fires over it appear to be no more mature than your average tantrum-throwing six-year-old, GOOD F$#!ING JOB, EVERYBODY." But Ann, coherent thinker that she is -- and excellent writer, one who pretty much puts my ass to shame -- instead has this:
. . . Notably, while Danish Muslims protested peacefully when the cartoons were originally published last fall, the violent protests didn't start until they were republished in European newspapers - in the name of freedom of speech.
It might surprise you to know that I think that is the absolute stupidest reason to do something. Toddlers, overindulged teenagers and dictators use the because I can excuse. Exercising your rights simply because you have them is perfectly legal, but that doesn't make it a good idea. Nose cut; face spited.
I think this hits particularly close to home for me because of my love of and respect for my First Amendment rights. They make it possible to do my job during the day and then go home and blog at night (or during the day when I'm supposed to be doing my job). My freedom of expression is what allows me to post as I do, to be as critical of the president as I want to be, to be shocking or outrageous or un-PC as it serves my purpose. I really, really like that.
When you have something that you truly respect and appreciate, you neither leave it unused in the box or throw it around like a baseball. When I post something inflammatory or controversial, whether I'm being sincere or sarcastic or being a Devil's Advocate, I have a reason for doing what I do and a message I'm trying to get across. I don't post controversial messages for the hell of it, because I know that pushing at the boundaries of my rights just for the sake of pushing is a lousy way to treat something I love. It's an infantile, "I'm-not-touching-you-I'm-not-touching-you" approach to freedom of expression.
At the risk of sounding like Glenn Reynolds, read the whole thing. I don't agree with every last thing she had to say, but she did manage to get her point across coherently and convincingly, and without the word "douche" appearing anywhere in the post.
Liberals and conservatives alike spend a lot of time complaining these days about how the political tone in Washington and elsewhere has become completely incoherent and uncivil, and they also spend a lot of time complaining about how this is all the other guys' fault. But whether you're liberal or conservative, Christian or non-Christian, Southerner or Yankee, whatever, and you want to be exposed to some actual reasonable political thought, take a gander over to baby sis's blog every once in a while. You'll be glad you did.