Saturday, January 26, 2008

Quick! Catch that meme!

"Freespeecher." This, we are told by a rapidly-widening circle of conservative chatterati, is the latest left-wing pejorative for...well, someone who believes in freedom of speech.

I tried to source this thing, and--guess what--it's an utter fabrication, but it's going to have a hell of a run by the looks of it. The word, really two words, originated with Warren Kinsella, and here is the context. (We pedants do love us some context.*)

(They wanted me to apologize to Steyn, too, for disapproving of the fact that Steyn called Chinese people "chinks" and Japanese people "japs." Shortly after I told the Citizen's editor-in-chief I wouldn't apologize for telling the truth, my column was canned. Free speechers, unite! Defend Warren, now!)

Mike Brock glommed onto this, pushed two words together, and wrote what I consider to be a frankly dishonest post on the matter. The word "freespeecher," he claims, is the latest left-wing insult, revealing for all to see that we stand opposed to freedom of speech. But it doesn't take more than a quick reading of Kinsella's post to see that he is merely suggesting a certain inconsistency on the part of conservatives who have been mounting (in both senses, I fear) the free speech podium of late to defend Ezra Levant. A commenter at Mike's place nailed it. (And I do note, by the way, that Kinsella's challenge, even if issued rather late, has not yet been taken up.)

Well, if it appears at Brock's place it must be so, so it took a very short time indeed for the claim to be posted uncritically by the usual suspects, some of whom were likely too dim to check it out, while others, seizing on an opportunity for ritual vilification, probably didn't much care whether the story was true or not.

It wasn't. But just watch it go.

*And I promise never to use that repulsive locution again.

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