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    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Be Nice Or Else

    Another area of our society has been invaded by the politically correct crowd or police as I like to call them.

    If any of you have ever visited the paid Dot com site that is devoted to FSU football, you have encountered the politically correct or censor police. As the saying goes, "say it ain't so Joe."

    Unfortunately, it is so. Sports message boards are now patrolled by moderators or politically correct censor police who will censor or blacklist those who may something that is not "nice".

    Message boards and in particular sports message boards across the country have been known for pull no punches commentary and comments about local sports team or players. Posters were allowed to express their views in the same manner as those who go to a football or baseball game and verbally express their views about a call, a play, or an official. Not anymore. The thought and censor police are now looking at your messages and making sure that you are nice and politically correct. These so called moderators or censors if they went to school must have slept through lessons about freedom of speech and expression. To them those terms are heresy.

    So what are some of the thought police rules? Here are some of the actual rules as posted on the dotcom site:

    1. . "No attacks on players or coaches. Criticism is allowed, and encouraged if the shoe fits. But that does NOT mean you have free range to bash or alienate a player or coach with your comments." So the thought police will decide if the shoe fits. Now the fan or poster has to be careful in criticizing poor play or a coaching decision. Alienate a player or coach from whom? Is the site's bias coming through? Is the site saying they don't want to risk being alienated from the people who give them the information that they post and sell to subscribers who they then censor?

    2. "Personal attacks of any form against another user will result in a ban. This includes calling people morons, idiots, etc... " So now we have the police telling us what they deem to be civil discourse. While I would not generally call someone a moron or idiot, I fail to see why the thought police should be involved in freewheeling discussion and expression. These thought police apparently never heard the phrase,"sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." Or how about this one from a famous philosopher? I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it. Nope, that is not in line with the thought police and their censorship.

    3. "Using something similar to *$@&%*#@ instead of profanity is allowed. " So we all know that is a profanity but because the thought police or censors did not see the normal profanity, the "new" profanity is acceptable.

    4. "Using expressions such as "frickin", "fargin', "f'n" is allowed."Are these people serious?

    5. "This profanity ban does not include the following words, provided they're used in the proper context: "bitch, ass, damn, and hell". ie.. Do not tell another user to 'go to hell'. Do not string together sentences full of these words to prove a point. Doing so will lead to an immediate banning."Are you beginning to see what lengths these moderators or politically correct censors will go?

    So those who pay money to these services are now told how and what kinds of language they can use to express themselves on a sports message board. By the way, I am not talking about racial epithets or "yelling fire in a crowded theater" use of language. It is agreed by most rational people that this is not acceptable. So it is ok to have hard hits and emotion on the football field but forget about the same on message boards. My guess is if it were up to these censors that contact sports would be banned as not being nice. The radio and television sports host Jim Rome recently discussed a California principal who has banned the game "Tag" because it may affect a child's ego and other perverted rationale. This is what these censors are all about. They want to control behavior and speech. They will be the arbiters for what is or isn't "nice."

    I wonder what these thought police would have fans say instead of throw the bum out. How about please take away the man in the uniform that is called a referee or umpire out of the game. Would that be nice enough for these censors?

    These so called thought or politically correct police want all of us fans to use correct terms that are awkward, euphemistic substitutes for original stark language. This is similar to George Orwell's invented language Newspeak. In his novel, it is described as being "the only language in the world whose vocabulary gets smaller every year."

    These thought police also point to the fact that they are a private entity and therefore freedom of speech and expression does not apply. This is a common ploy by newspapers and others who have message boards and employ censorship. These same entities would be screaming at the top of their lungs if the government attempted to censor them in the way that they censor their readers and paid subscribers. So are these mental midgets telling us that they don't believe in freedom of expression? I'll let you answer that.

    This phenomena of censorship by sports message boards is not limited to the United States. Take the example of The Scottish Rugby Union who was accused of censorship after it closed down the popular chat room on its official website. This kind of thought control is unfortunately not limited to message boards.

    Here is yet another example. During the third quarter of Virginia's football game this year against the Blue Devils, and after the Cavalier defense had just allowed one of the worst teams in the country to pull within four points of tying the game, third-year Engineering student David Becker silently stood up in the first row of the student section and held up a sign. In big letters, it read, "Fire Groh." No more, no less. Becker was approached by a field staffer who confiscated it under orders from the athletic department. When Becker told him the sign had been approved by staff at the gate, the official gave no response. So Becker made another one using scraps of poster board and a marker. After that got taken away, he made another. That too was confiscated. Each sign Becker made was taken until police gave him an ultimatum: Keep the signs down or get out. When asked to comment,Jason Bauman, associate director of athletics for facilities and operations,said the move was consistent with venue policy restricting "derogatory" signs.

    So if I owned a site, what would be my rules? They would be in line with the KISS principle. I would not allow racial or sexual epithets or gross profanity. That's it. The thought police would still be able to exert their "power" and have a feeling of self-importance. The posters would be able to freely express their thoughts and opinions. What a novel concept.

    So what is the bottom line? Well, I would urge anyone that is spending their hard earned dollars for a site such as this to save their money. There are plenty of outlets such as this blog and others that will provide you with uncensored material and you will never be admonished to not alienate players or coaches. Comments on this blog will also never be censored.

    So put these politically correct moderators or police in the same category as the NCAA politically correct police. They want to not only tell us what we can have as a mascot but also want to tell you what you can or cannot say. As a Russian comedian who came to this country to escape such tyranny once said, "Is this a great country or what?" Except now it is meant in an entirely different way.

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