Columns, Opinion

SONI: Fear and loathing on the Web

As some of you may know, my first piece for the Daily Free Press was about Sarah Palin and how hot she is. I described her as a ‘naughty librarian’, a GILF ‘-‘- which I am not going to explain right now ‘-‘- and also referred to her as ’embracing femininity with open legs.’ Crass, I know.
The next week a friend of mine told me he Web searched my name and instead of finding me on the Daily Free Press website, he found excerpts of my article on PalinSexismWatch.blogspot.com.
I did a little reconnaissance and found out he was telling the truth. The site had been created by a working mother from Wisconsin who aimed ‘to monitor, and round up, the sexist treatment given to Republican VP nominee, Sarah Palin.’ It also had a Sexism Wall of Shame, which included the likes of Bill Maher, Joe Biden and Pamela Anderson. I didn’t make the A-list, but I was secretly proud of having caused a little stir in the world and gained some infamy while at it.
But then I got to thinking: In essence what this woman had done was take my words out of context and place them in a negative light. It was a form of branding and stigmatization.
I’m no sexist. In fact, I love women. The things I said in those articles were intended as humor, not slander. I apologize to those I offend, kind of. But in a serious political climate such as ours, a little humor is necessary to sift through the bipartisan BS.
The act of mislabeling is akin to censorship. When someone says something, and another person calls it something else, it is misrepresentation. For example, regardless of whether I am a sexist or not I am more likely to chiggidy check myself the next time I write anything that is borderline extreme. Hence, the system is engineered in such a way that the dissident voices are suppressed, and they eventually slip further into the middle of the road due to the fear of being branded. Such is the double-edged sword of free speech: Say what you want, but be prepared to have it interpreted differently.
I began to wonder what implications these online stigmas had on me. Would the Internet see me as a bigoted immigrant and political menace? What if McCain and his boys came into power next year and started flushing out the societal dredges, McCarthy-style?
The fear crept up my spine. If some Palin-freak from Wisconsin is dogging me, how many people are really reading this stuff? And how many people are taking it seriously? How many National Security Agency officials are searching my name as they consider my pending citizenship request and pulling out that big red stamp that says DENIED? Now that I think about it, I don’t even think I have the right to free speech.
Who knows? Maybe some day later this year, three dudes wearing all black with headsets and sunglasses will come into my lecture hall and quietly take me outside to arrest me and put me on the next plane to Guantanamo Bay, citing unpatriotic thought and government slander.
I won’t go ‘I saw Harold and Kumar II. Maybe I’ll head south, down to Florida and take an unmarked boat to an unnamed destination.’ No, that will never work. Florida is only miles from Guantanamo. They’re bound to catch me. Maybe I’m ruined, doomed to spend my days in a dingy cell, blindfolded and whimpering in a corner while a female officer stands next to me, pointing at my genitals and taking pictures. The horror! The horror!
Whoa, get a grip. Back to the lecture at hand.
Mohammed Ali once explained to Hunter S. Thompson that, ‘There are no jokes. The truth is the funniest joke of all.’ I have always found this to be true, but with regards to this whole Palin palaver, what I once saw as jest is turning in to grim reality.
I hope I am not the only one who finds parts of this election pathetic and borderline offensive to my intelligence. How can we seriously be considering someone so wholly inexperienced for the position of vice president? Sarah Palin is a practical joke, and to the credit of McCain, a really good one. But if he punks us in November we’ll all look like idiots. Sen. McCain is an old man, and the fear that he will die in office is more of a reality than a tasteless liberal whim. If he does, we will be left with President Palin, and although that does have a nice ring, it is a truly terrible prospect.
Maybe I have no right to criticize; I’m still the FOB immigrant who thinks Babe Ruth is a delicious candy bar. But it’s kind of like back in middle school when you used to make fun of the girl you had a crush on. America, I am making fun of you because I love you, and I don’t want to see you botch this one. Not again.

Diptesh Soni, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a weekly columnist for The Daily Free Press. He can be reached at [email protected]

One Comment

  1. America, I am making fun of you because I love you, and I don’t want to see you botch this one. Not again.<p/>Well said, sir.