Tuesday, December 17, 2002

The Pro-Bilge Manifesto

We, the undersigned, as free citizens of a nation with a nominal tradition of free speech, declare that:

1. It is the right of every author to write bilge.

2. It is the right of any newspaper or magazine to publish a wide variety of bilge in order to attract as wide a readership as possible.

3. Similarly it is the right of every television channel and radio station to broadcast bilge for identical commercial reasons.

4. It is the right of every book publisher to publish bilge for exactly the same reasons.

5. In relation to the right to publish bilge we accept that this is a commercial imperative and a legitimate way of doing business in a free market economy.

6. It is the right of every Australian citizen to read, listen to, or watch the bilge of their choice, without interference or hindrance from others.

Mindful of these principles we hereby renounce the twin follies of pissing in the bilge and complaining about the stink, and amateur attempts to suppress bilge. We accept that the production of a large quantity of bilge is an unavoidable consequence of the exercise of free speech and that the preservation of public morals through the prevention of writing is properly the business of government appointed professional censors, not amateurs like us. This we swear by the dirt on our keyboards and the grunge that gets stuck to those rollers inside our mouses. It shall not have gathered in vain.

I know this is a big ask: I'm asking you to rally in defence of bad writing and the publication of offensive opinions you really can't stand. All I've got to say in support of this proposal is, if you're not prepared to stand up on this issue don't come bitching to me when the "l33t hxrs" get to your blog, or the hate-mailers start bombing your E-Mail account. If you're not prepared to respect my right to write rubbish don't expect my unquestioning support when the time comes to defend your right to write excellent, insightful commentary. You won't have earnt it.

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