Being deliberately provocative is freedom of speech but saying sorry is weakness

Photographer Tyler Shields also isn’t quite sure what the point of the picture was…

We’d been talking about doing something and she said to me, “I’m not afraid to get political if you want or make a statement if you want.” 

…We had about 10 different ideas and we had the props and we had the things there for them, but then on the day, it was like, “This is the one. This is the one to do for sure.”…

Obviously, there’s the freedom of speech thing, which is great. It’s such a timely image. We see millions of visuals every day and to make something that really stands out is very difficult now. I think that this has the potential to make people stop for a second and say, “What is that?”

OK, so in other words, they wanted to do something that would create uproar, and this was the best idea they had…

Let’s give Griffin the benefit of the doubt and say she was actually making a coherent political statement, and let’s assume it’s in response to the common leftist accusation that Trump is a misogynist…

I hate when public figures apologize for offensive statements. In fact, I’m offended when people demand apologies for offensive statements, and I’m offended when jerks apologize for their offensive statements. When an apology is given, those who demanded it act as though they’ve won something, that the rightness of their position and anger over speech is justified when the speaker shows contrition. And the offending party plays the apology as a get-out-of-jail-free card. In a cost-benefit analysis, neither side is better off, since it costs the offending party nothing to apologize, and the offended party is in no way better off by the apology.

People should either stand by their statements, no matter how offensive, or have the good goddamn sense to know if the content of their free expression is going to rile people up. If you want to be edgy AF, have the balls to absorb the consequences of your speech, whatever it may be. Free speech is a right, and though it is free to speak, there can be costs if… people [don’t] like what you have to say.

…American soldiers died in the American Revolution and the War of 1812 to protect our inherent natural rights, but the root of the protection of free speech is so that citizens can be critical of government without fear of consequences from those we deride. Free speech is simultaneously a right, and a privilege. Free speech is something that is taken for granted in this country, but in many other Western democracies/republics it is not sacrosanct like it is here, and in tyrannical countries it is not allowed by the government at all.

Kathy Griffin and Tyler Shields are allowed to say whatever they want. But, for their own credibility and artistry, they should express something more meaningful and worthwhile than base, graphic images that are nothing but provocation for provocation’s sake.

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