I had a big long rant here about the Pledge of Allegiance and how I sorta agree that “under God” shouldn’t be in there. (There was also a big random digression about the Notre Dame fight song too, but let’s not discuss that.) But now my righteous indignation has faded away and I don’t feel like ranting anymore. It’s difficult to discuss “serious” stuff in this forum, you know? I can argue that stuff with my friends, but when I put it out in public I just end up getting flamed by random assholes. (Case in point: the e-mail spam deluge continues seventeen hours later. Ten e-mails every five minutes. I must’ve pissed somebody off.) So I’m a little tired of seeing people (including myself) ripped on for posting their opinions. What do my fellow bloggers think? Should we allow harassment from strangers to prevent us from posting serious stuff? Or should we just stick to the links and memes?


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  1. Gah! Freedom of speech for all! You should post what you want to post. People can read or ignore…freedom of choice for them too. Block the smappmer and continue with business as normal, please.

  2. uh, that should really read spammer, not smappmer. in case you were wondering.

  3. It’s not very easy to block someone who uses a different From: address every time and fills their headers with non-resolvable forged IP addresses. We’ve finally managed to track down an anonymous remailer proxy in Taiwan that it seems to be coming through. Hopefully I can get my ISP to block mail from that address. Of course, the asshole could just switch to another…

  4. Ugh. What I meant to say was, yeah, freedom of speech and all, but the Internet makes it really easy for someone to attack you for your beliefs. Much easier than in “real” life. Sure, somebody could come punch me in the nose, but I could get the cops after them pretty easily. In the case of this spammer, though, I’ve got to continually download and delete the messages (until I get them blocked) to keep my account from filling up and thus bouncing mail that I actually *need*. And of course, with the volume of messages we’re talking about, that takes up a significant amount of my dialup bandwidth, thus making it difficult for the Snook and I to get anything else done online. And there’s almost nothing I can do about it! I’ve always preferred to NOT be anonymous online (at least with regards to my weblog). But stuff like this really is stifling free speech, because it makes me want to change my (online) name, remove all references to my e-mail address, and not say anything confrontational. And that sucks. I know that some people only feel free to state their opinion when they ARE anonymous, which is fine. I just object to the fact that some people use that anonymity to administer their own petty forms of vigilante “justice”. Which sucks.

  5. Kris – you can use http://pop2web.mailvalley.com/ to see your emails without downloading them, so you can delete the spam without using all your bandwidth. not sure how good it is, never used it.

  6. that one doesn’t seem to work for actually, try http://www.pop2web.com/

  7. Thanks for that. The Snook and I discussed some other options today too. Basically I’ve got two options: A) administer my own mail server and keep a list of IP addresses to block, or B) completely shut down access to everybody but trusted addresses. The Snook says A is easier, so I’ll probably go with it. If this crap keeps happening, though, I’ll switch to my nuclear weapon, option B.

  8. maaan some people are right fascists.
    Technically the that court was right though. Your constitution does seperate church from state so a mention of God or (as the judge mentioned) any god is against that.

    We don’t have that problem in Blighty as:
    1/ no seperation between church and state.
    2/ no one cares anyway.
    3/ we dont’ pledge allegiance to anyone.


  9. As I write, there are over 17,000 messages after that Yahoo article!

    I think you should be able to write whatever you like; it sucks that you’re getting personally harassed for expressing your view.

    I agree with you, by the way. As a kid, I loved saying the Pledge, but now I do object to the “under God” phrase, and when I think about it, it feels kinda creepy hearing all of these mindless schoolkids chanting together, pledging their allegance to a symbol.

  10. Well, actually I don’t know why the spammer is attacking me. I thought maybe it was a “legit” spammer (yeah, like those exist!) who just messed up their script somehow. But they’ve gone to a lot of effort to cover their tracks, and it’s still going on 24 hours later. Bastard.

    As for the pledge… I’m an agnostic but I don’t get upset when someone says “God” (unless they’re really annoying and in-my-face about it). I just think that most of the hysterical angry responses to this ruling are from people who just don’t want to change the way they’ve been doing things. They don’t want to even entertain the possibility that their “tradition” needs updating. (The ND fight song digression was about the perennial debate there over changing the words to include women. A lot of the guys are against it but don’t even have a good reason. They just resent that the status quo is being challenged. It doesn’t make the excluded person feel very welcome.)

  11. I think the thing that bothers me about the ban on the Pledge of Allegiance is that it almost feels like we’re going insane with, and spending too much time on, making sure that everyone feels included, no one is offended, and that everyone is happy… The point being that you can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time.

    If you’re a White Anglo-Saxon Protestant such as myself, you have to watch everything you say, lest you offend someone. Goddamn, I’m even afraid to call something that’s black “black” because I may offend an African American. It’s insane. I have a black dog. He’s black. God, I can’ t say those words without cringing.

    IMHO, I don’t think that the Pledge should be banned. It was changed to include the words “under God” back in 1954, so why can’t they change it again, why don’t they just leave out the words “under God?” It doesn’t make sense to ban the entire Pledge — I think it says things that are very important… What it stands for is important. When I think of the Pledge, I am filled with pride for my country… I remember putting my hand over my heart when I was a child and looking up at the flag… What are they going to ban next, the flag itself?

    I censor myself all the time, Kris. It’s easy to say, “Say what you believe,” when you’re not the one that may deal with certain repurcussions. I think my personal views are unpopular with most folks online, so I try not to mention them often… but nor do I attack others for having different beliefs from my own. I understand that not everyone is capable of having constructive conversations concerning a difference in opinion or belief systems, but I like to believe that I’m one of those few. I don’t need to resort to spam-bombs or trolling or flames. What’s the point? As if that will change your opinion, right?

    Anyway. Woo! Hot debate!

  12. To be honest “One country under God” is a pretty cool phrase.

    Its just that it was tested and it doesn’t adher to the US constitution. Not a big deal really, considering what else is going on in the world if you ask me.

    I suspect the guy who brought the case is a bit anal and wanted to make a point. Personally I’d ignore him and he’d go away and annoy someone else.

    Its the zealots that go out an spam and wotnot that are dangerous!

    Another strange (ironic even?) thing is that for a country that has special rules for the seperation of Church and State the church does seems to have an undue influence on the state.

    Yet in the UK where its pretty closely linked (head of state is head of the church), no one really gives a monkeys.

  13. Oddly, the “Under God” is the part I always had trouble remembering. It just seemed to add two too many syllables for my elementary school brain.

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