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A Tech-Econ Mashup with a Libertarian Flavor

Talentless Hack Fired from Humdrum Radio Station Does Not Violate 1st Amendment

Mankato-area radio DJ Jeremy “Fat Kid” Powell was evidently given the axe this week by his employers at 95.7 “The Blaze.” Fat Kid’s facebook page is awash with comments from fans who vow to boycott the station until he is reinstated. Or at least until they remember that the Blaze is the only broadcaster within listening range that plays their brand of crappy, testosterone-fueled Shock Rock.™

For those of you who don’t hail from southern Minny, Fat Kid is an “edgy,” cookie-cutter radio DJ, another voice in the slew of Howard Stern-wannabes that station execs hired en masse in the mid-90s to capitalize on the angsty, anti-commercial rock music that was, well, commercial at the time. Most of these guys bring nothing original to their profession, and most of them fail to be shocking – afterall, only the richest stations can afford to pay FCC indecency fines – and instead settle somewhere between “annoying” and “grating.”

Anyway, back to the story. Mr. Kid’s side is that he was fired for saying something inappropriate over the waves (he supplied the facebook comment “don’t call cheerleaders fat on air.”). His account of what happened has prompted his crowd of facebook supporters to rage back against the machine. From panicky boys who don’t know whut im gonna listen to now that FAT KID IS GONE!!! THIS SUCKS!, to witch-y little half-wit girls who believe being labeled fat by a radio DJ provides adequate motivation for those other ugly fat girls to lose weight, the kids are pissed. Many have cited the constitution, specifically the 1st Amendment, and the value of Freedom of Speech in America, Or Whatever. And therein lies the problem, boys and girls.

The first amendment protects citizens from government censorship, not from employer censorship. It’s very important for the managers at Wal-Mart to have the freedom to fire the idiot kid who curses at and insults his customers. It’s also very important that the managers can’t call the police and have the same idiot kid hauled away and thrown in jail. People don’t like being insulted, and businesses generally try not to piss off their customers. Contrast this with a society without a first amendment. In such a society, Fat Kid could be imprisoned with no legal recourse, a prospect which I’m sure we’ll all agree is much more horrifying than merely being unemployed. Fat is free to go find employment elsewhere, switch to a more lucrative vocation. I’m sure he’d make a great Tucker Max rip-off.

Bottom line: Fat Kid sucks, the Blaze was never a great radio station, and the first amendment applies only to the government and can’t be wielded against private citizens or companies. So please, go ahead and boycott The Blaze. Not because of Fat Kid, but because there’s better ways to discover and listen to music. www.pandora.com

Filed under: Entertainment, , ,

No thanks, Mr. Martin, I’ll stick with Charter.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin recently scrapped his plan to create an national wi-fi broadband service, one that would have (supposedly) filtered out every piece of pr0n and smut a hormonal 13-year-old would want to get his hairy palms on.

Need I go into all the reasons why a heavily-filtered public internet service would be a terrible, terrible idea? Well, for starters, there’s the first amendment issues surrounding the censorship of public spectrum. Also, don’t overlook the fact that the government sucks at providing most of the services it provides (been to the post office lately?). Then there’s the privacy issues surrounding government regulation and administration of an electronic communication medium. Not to mention the fact that the market has already indicated that there’s no need for the government to spend tax dollars to provide this “public good.” And to be practical, even the “smartest” net filtering programs are dumb as rocks when it comes to natural language processing and typically end up blocking web pages about, for example, breast cancer prevention.

Ryan (yes, the Ryan Radia for all you fans) at TLF has a great post on this story.

Filed under: Information Tech, Internet, Politics, , , , , , , ,

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