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Thursday, May 12, 2022

KoopaTV's Nine-Year Anniversary, and a Free Speech Commitment

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - KoopaTV's free speech values!

Today, KoopaTV is nine years old! Woohoo!

Can... can that be the whole content of the article? No? You want something with some production values and effort? Well, fine.

Since it's on people's minds lately (more than usual, with certain billionaires dabbling in social media platforms that we've previously derided as echo chambers), let's talk about FREE SPEECH. A concept that KoopaTV loves and regularly defends.


Why Free Speech for a Nine-Year Anniversary Article?


There are two things that come to my mind when I think about the number nine, which I've already made clear years ago when I wrote, “Should The Number Nine Be Nixed?” (That was in response to several product lines skipping the ninth version of something. Clearly, KoopaTV isn't skipping this one.) AND I associate both of those things with... FREE SPEECH. (I don't know why I keep capitalising that—I promise it's not something I always capitalise like I do with FAKE NEWS.)

Herman Cain, Nine, and Freedom of Speech


Herman Cain was a former Republican presidential candidate in 2011, famous for his 9-9-9 tax plan that would've replaced the current tax code. That's a 9% personal income tax, a 9% corporate income tax, and a 9% federal sales tax. He loved the number nine in other aspects of his life as well. His website, CainTV (which opened July 4, 2012—because real American patriots purposefully delay things until the next July 4), is the website that KoopaTV is a parody of. When he died, his staff decided to keep the site going, in his name. That site dismantled March 16, 2021, because it got way too weird. The last staffer there remarked about how it was “nine unforgettable years”—but people who know how to count know that it wasn't exactly nine years. It was eight years, eight months, and thirteen days, or 3,178 days total. Our article to commemorate that moment was this one in January of this year about a CAPCOM Lunar New Year Sale, because that's fitting, I guess. (And, what do you know, the CAPCOM Golden Week Sale is STILL going on as of publishing.)

Anywho, KoopaTV has very officially outlasted the website that we were founded to be a parody of. If we just stopped now, I'd feel pretty good about our run. And I wouldn't even have to die to make that happen. Ah, but, back to free speech...

As a political candidate and a commentator on both the web, as well as on the radio, Herman Cain welcomed diverse points of view and free speech. He railed against the lack of free speech on college campuses, and certainly employed freedom of speech of his own, to the point that callers came on the show and accused him of “verbal fellatio.” You can hear that in this clip:




Anyway, Herman Cain was a big nine proponent and a free speech proponent... and without him, this website wouldn't exist.

But wait, there's more!


Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors and Freedom of Speech


The cast of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors sure love talking. They'll talk at length about conspiracy theories and controversy even in the face of what appears to be imminent death, including in the presence of bombs and inside freezers. For the most part, people will continue to ramble on and on and no one's really stopping them. The folks don't have to listen, but they often do.

Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors discussions continued learned nothing free speech Santa talking
Santa may try to stop the discussion here, but they really do keep talking on and on afterwards... and for the rest of the game.
Even with the spectre of death hanging over them.


A lot of what they talk about, and the nature of which they talk about it, might get labelled as “misinformation” or “disinformation” (perhaps it came from the RUSSIANS) by anti-speech social media platforms. (Why would you ever want to be on a social media platform that suppresses your own speech?) Perhaps the cast, and it's not just a few fringe thinkers that go into long tangential rants but pretty much all of them, frequent a lot of websites or outlets that are far from mainstream that can only operate because of free speech principles. They often go against officially established narratives and stories, and governments and other authoritarians would be quick to censor them. By the way, there's another reason why free speech is on the minds of a lot of people—the American government has just formed up a “Disinformation Governance Board” under the Department of Homeland Security. That's certainly intimidating and chilling.

Nine Hours Persons Doors Santa kept talking steam engine room
Fortunately, Santa later learned the merits of speech and chose to wield it.


Anyway, I'm happy to talk about Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, and while you... can't really buy it easily on a Nintendo console right now, you can at least get it on Steam as part of the Zero Escape: The Nonary Games compilation featuring it and its sequel, Virtue’s Last Reward. Though I think the DS version is the best because it has the best use of the second screen in DS history, and that's not something the PC game replicates.

Free Speech is a Culture and Mindset, not a Law


People who don't actually value free speech often like to say things like, “The First Amendment only applies to the government! Private companies can do whatever they want!” As a legal matter, that's correct. But that's often not what anyone is even talking about when they bring up free speech.

Among individuals, free speech is a mindset—among a group, it's a culture. It means having tolerance—being able to accept and have patience—for other people having different opinions AND being able to voice them. That means if someone says something you don't like... you debate them (feel free to even mock them with harsh words) or walk away and ignore them! But you don't go and try to cancel them. (I've noticed that people are now using the word “accountable” instead of “cancel”... If you want an example of accountability, look at this list of media outlets that refuse to do better after I identified them as spreading FAKE NEWS about the Nintendo Switch Pro.)

You gotta live and let live. Lots of folks have trouble with that, though. But life is less stressful and less angry if you take that approach. You'll be happier if you respect others’ rights to free speech. And that's not a right that comes from the government... it's natural and you're entitled to it just for being born.

And people who hold platforms should similarly open them up. Not because a law says so—but because respecting people's rights is the right thing to do. If someone ends up committing some kind of actual crime, there are existing statutes of those crimes that cover that. I don't understand why people don't want the Internet to reflect what is fine and legal to say in the physical public square (well, at least in the United States of America—other countries will arrest you for speaking freely, so be careful of anyone who says America should be more like the rest of the world). If anything, with the power of privacy, it should be the standard norm and expectation that the Internet is more free, not less free.

Why Isn't Freedom of Speech a Main KoopaTV Philosophy?


If you go to KoopaTV's About Page, there is a section about KoopaTV's philosophies. You'll see that our main two values are truth and levity, which you see everywhere on the site. It's on the site-wide header. Truth and levity are how we grade your comments for the KoopaTV Loyalty Rewards Program. (You get one point for commenting, one point for exhibiting the value of truth, and one point for exhibiting levity.)

You'll notice freedom of speech IS in that section (and it's been there for a very long time; I didn't just edit that in. We have real commitment here!). But it's deemed a “sub-philosophy” and it's not explained why it's a “sub-philosophy” and not a “philosophy”. My response is that I think it's redundant.


Nine Hours Persons Doors pork note C + 10 + F Junpei clever and funny
It's not clever and funny... it's truth and levity.


Levity and Free Speech


I know I always write “truth and levity” and not “levity and truth”, but levity goes first here because I just published a whole article a month ago called “Humour Under Assault and Battery”, where I connect how people are becoming less tolerant of humour, based on an increasing vibe of violence against comedians (like Chris Rock). You should read the whole article (because I have a recent, personal example of me being punished just for laughing at someone else's joke), but the gist is there is this anti-speech trend of “words [speech] are violence”, and therefore, people are allowed to use their right to defend themselves (physically) to protect themselves against this violence supposedly caused by free speech. To clarify, that's distinct than using words to incite actual violence or a real threat. This requires a free speech culture and not a whiny sensitive one that caters to the weakest of wills.

Supporting levity already incorporates and assumes a free speech mindset. If you disagree, you probably aren't as funny as you think you are.


Truth and Free Speech


Often, the people who want to restrict your free speech are the people who are propagating lies and FAKE NEWS. Truth-telling absolutely implies free speech values.

There is another mistaken notion that it's only okay to “punch up”, meaning that you can only criticise (or contradict... with TRUTH!) people who are above your own station in society. “Punching down” is strictly forbidden—that's cancellable. But are you really “down” or beneath someone if you have the power to be immune to criticism? That itself is an incredible power!

People who have that notion aren't interested in the truth. The truth doesn't care about where you are, up or down. You go where that leads... and you might not know the direction of where that is before you embark on the truth-telling journey. That's why I don't accept people taking tribal sides and justifying lies and FAKE NEWS just to hurt another side. (And that happens—I'm in a Discord server with far left activists that say they are okay with and support spreading lies about Republican politicians just to get them out of office.) Of course, free speech also enables people to outright lie and make things up. But only more free speech is the proper remedy to that. Having some kind of central authority decide what's true and what's not is a bad idea! Assume malicious people will end up in that authority and will censor out (restrict freely speaking) the truth.

Anyway, the truth is that this article is getting a bit long now and I think I've made all of my points. Happy nine years with y'all. I hope there won't be another nine, though. I can't come up with that much anniversary article material.



There is lots of stuff to talk about, and you can use your powers of free speech in the comments section to pick whatever topic you want.


Well, at least this article is better than the eight-year anniversary one!
If you want a dedicated article on the connection between free speech and truth, click this.

4 comments :

  1. "Often, the people who want to restrict your free speech are the people who are propagating lies and FAKE NEWS."

    I don't as much find this to be the case. In my experience, people who spread false information are often among the loudest who clamor for broader free speech protection--and they do so because they want to force people to listen to them. The people who are actually effective at spreading falsehoods hardly need changes of law to restrict the speech of their opposition--they simply shout said opposition down.

    Either that, or they already control the law of their land and thus restrict it that way, i.e. your oft-mentioned Chinese Communist Party.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know I love talking about the Chinese Communist Party!

      But there are several examples of "Big Tech" censoring or suppressing info (as opposed to just bullying people, like calling those who are against foreign entanglements and wars "traitors" (which you're supposed to death penalty so it's a fairly serious claim) or, more recently, "Russians"), like that related to the recent (on-going?) pandemic (things that go contrary to what the unreliable CDC says is censored) and less important things like Hunter Biden's laptop.

      Delete
    2. Brand new example: https://twitter.com/SenSchumer/status/1526635521765679104

      Delete
    3. This anti-Trump activist made up a story about Texas Governor Abbott sending a thug to intimidate him and got it spread virally among leftist media types and "journalists", with them claiming Abbott needs to be silenced and prosecuted and right-wingers need to have free speech taken away.
      https://twitter.com/MrAndyNgo/status/1529997985853079562/photo/2

      Delete

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