September 21, 2007

Rude Rights

Margaret pointed out to me that something I said in my previous post was something I didn’t really mean. So I will revisit it here.

I said you don’t have the right to be rude, which is wrong and it’s not what I meant.

You do have rights which allow you to be rude and obnoxious. Rudeness and obnoxiousness are not against the law. However, you don’t always have the right to choose any forum as a platform for your views. Venues have a right to require a level of discourse and behavior from you to participate in an event.

In a way, this infringes on your right to be rude. Which is a complexity I fumbled in my previous post. Sometimes our rights are at odds with each other. Sometimes it’s more important to be rude — politeness is great, up to a point.

People (I among them) are definitely a lot more sympathetic if you are rude and obnoxious for a good reason.

Posted by James at September 21, 2007 11:40 AM
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We have the right of free speech, but it's not unlimited. People sometimes don't seem to understand this. There is illegal speech and there are illegal venues. Being rude and obnoxious in your speech is generally legal, but that doesn't mean you can be rude and obnoxious on private property and it doesn't mean you can break rules in a public forum, whether you're rude and obnoxious or perfectly polite. Where there are rules, if you don't follow them and are removed, then your speech wasn't violated.

Posted by: Maggie at September 21, 2007 12:42 PM

Actions have consequences.

You may do anything you want to. You have to be aware that there might be consequences that displease you.

There was once a column in the Washington Post, wherein the author described parking her car in front of a cheese shop on M Street, not getting back out by 4 p.m., and having her car towed to make way for rush hour traffic. When she finally got home, late in the evening after the ordeal and expense of retrieving her car, her husband unhelpfully said, "Well, you should know that you can't park on M Street at 4 in the afternoon."

"Wrong," she replied. "For $250 and three hours of effort, you can park anywhere you want."

Posted by: Barry Leiba at September 21, 2007 3:46 PM

For three hours and $250, I hope that was some damn fine cheese. I love that attitude, though. :)

Posted by: Julie at September 21, 2007 5:01 PM

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