Hackers “Redesign” Pro-Life Billboard on Cortland September 6, 2012September 6, 2012 / Todd_Lappin Neighbor Jon writes… It did not take long for the right wing, anti-choice ad on Cortland at Andover to get a Bernal makeover. PHOTOS: Neighbor Jon Share this:EmailTwitterFacebookPinterestRedditTumblrLike this:Like Loading...
84 thoughts on “Hackers “Redesign” Pro-Life Billboard on Cortland”
Ha! greatness at its best!
Awesome! Love to see this sort of media-hacking! Kudos to whomever the responsible party is!
Ha ha ha, well done.
Here’s to tolerance and diversity of opinion!
And to the seperation of church and state!
Bernal Heights Values!!
If anyone should happen to know the responsible party for making this wrong into a right, an identical billboard went up on the side of Pauline’s Pizza (Brosnan and Valencia) that also needs a pro-vagina makeover.
And if you’re in Sonoma for the weekend, please fix theirs too. Such an eyesore.
Love it! Nice job!
Fellow liberals . . .
As much mockery as the right usually deserves, I don’t think the hackers did anyone any favors with this. It’s just spray-painting the rival team’s billboard, and I get a little tired of seeing political differences treated like a damn football game. Does anyone think someone who’s actually on the fence about abortion rights is going to look at that stunt and think, “Huh. Yeah, vaginas are more important than babies. Now I’m convinced.” It’s just ham-handed and dumb and makes progressives out as the hypocritical, intolerant fascists that the idiot talk show hosts are always saying we are. So classy.
The rival team’s bilboard seems to have been misplaced.
Oh lighten up Francis.
I think this is more about someone obviously not of the neighborhood trying to push their shit onto the neighborhood. Who needs to look at that? To tolerate it? It’s ugly. It needed a facelift. It’s a way to say “you’re not wanted here”.
You know how much that sounds like a Southern sheriff, Kyle? I’m all for us disagreeing. Strongly. The minute liberals start not tolerating people who are “obviously not of the neighborhood,” though, I worry.
I agree. This billboard feels foisted on our community and I don’t want to have to look at it. I would actually prefer that someone just painted over the whole thing, but I welcome the sentiment of this graffiti.
I know what you’re saying, I really do. I was a overwhelmed and I definitely cringed when NPR played the shouting voice of some women (at the DNC) fanatically yelling “Rape is Rape!” Geez loueeeze… the whole conversation’s just gotten ugly with a pummelling of rotten tomatoes until there is no actual conversation. Sorry that hideous billboard got turned into yet less dignified ‘rhetoric.’ (Maybe, since we’re talking about stifling free speech and ‘discussion’ here, we could keep the dialogue off billboards altogether?)
“bernalgirl: This billboard feels foisted on our community and I don’t want to have to look at it.”
This is exactly the same logic that people used to attack JCPenney for including a happy, non-traditional family in their advertising. They argued that “the community” thinks that “gays are forcing their sinful lifestyle on everyone and we don’t want to have to look at it.”
If, for instance, this was a billboard advocating gay spouse’s rights placed in and someone altered the message / defaced it / hacked it (whatever softened term people want to use to justify this particular instance of vandalism), how would you feel? If the message went from “a gay spouse should have equal rights as any other” to “gays aren’t people – they should have no rights,” would that be ok? In THAT community it would reflect their values and they would justify it as changing it so they don’t have to look at something so distateful every day. Whatever tactics you use to attack your opponents, always imagine them being used by your opponent right back at you.
Not to mention the fact that in the big picture, this piece of vandalism will do more to hurt the pro-choice cause at large than the billboard could ever do to change the minds of people in a community like Bernal. The vandalism happened. Pictures have been posted on the internet. I guarantee you that somewhere on the web, perhaps on a right wing news site, perhaps in a neighborhood blog for a different type of community, or perhaps on a religious website, someone is going to take those pictures and hold them up to those communities as an example of how their cause isn’t respected.
Do we really think that the organization that placed a billboard like this in Bernal thought they were going to change the minds of this community? If I were a political strategist I would specifically place these billboards in the places where there is zero hope of influencing the locals with the hope that someone WOULD deface them. It is a perfect way of taking a using a simple billboard to generate a news story with the express purpose of discrediting your opposition.
There is no doubt that, in the most “BAAVD” (“be an atheist, vote Democrat”) city in the United States, deliberately mocking a poster by a “BACVR” (“be a Catholic, vote Republican”) person smacks of bigotry. It is an effort to not consider even the possibility that in practical or scientific terms there could be something to say in favour of the “BACVR” viewpoint. It certainly won’t make the conservatives any more tolerant of the politics of the Bay Area and the often nihilistic and selfish culture behind it.
Stunt? Really? And the original offense is the fucking Mona Lisa as depicted by Anne Geddes.
The larger message is MOTHERS and CHOICE, not vaginas. It could be body, womb, uterus, brain.
If you think the appointment of the Bishop Drunky Pants is a random thing…think again.
Thank you hackers!!!
History is written by the winners…
Its really not cool to graffiti a billboard that someone paid for, destroying their message in the process. I am glad you disagree. Stage a protest. Occupy. Don’t encourage vandalism of private property. Buy your own billboard.
Freedom of speech is free, and I support Freedom of speech. Just because you disagree with the message, does not give you the right to drown it out.
Otherwise I am going to go dump trash on Bernal Hill and call it “art”.
I’m glad you think that those with the most money deserve an unmitigated right to broadcast their views without challenge. I’m sure that those privileged enough to be able to afford billboards and other forms of advertising appreciate your moral support.
Precisely. Besides we can use a little art.
You sir, are allowed to protest the message all you want, without spending any money at all, or without vandalizing anyone’s else message. Stand in front of the Billboard all day long and shout out how much you like vagina’s, and how much you like a woman’s right to choose. I’ll bring you a sandwich.
Or, y’know, just alter the billboard, as was done.
That’s the thing, though: there are laws protecting our hill from having trash dumped upon it. The laws that protect women’s bodies are being eroded to the point where I experience this billboard as an attack on women. Not only do the rights of a cluster of cells but now also the rights of the man who provided the sperm should trump those of women. Whose property is this? We really should petition THOSE people not to rent the billboard to people who attack women.
And, it actually costs quite a bit of money to stand in front of a billboard all day if you have children you’d have to hire someone to take care of while you do it.
For as despicable as I find the original billboard to be, I have to agree that it doesn’t change the fact that vandalism is a crime. The “modified” message is one I strongly support, but defacing the billboard just stoops to the same level as the grafitti taggers that destroy our buildings, beloved Bernal Park, etc.
Just because we like the message, does it make person who did this any more “right” than any of those degenerates? Freedom of speech and tolerance are amazing things. I like to pride myself in supporting other people’s rights to say things with which I don’t agree.
Arg… Serves me right for trying to reply from my phone. Sorry for the choppy grammar.
They’re not “saying” it, however. They’re posting it in letters four feet tall and making everyone who passes have to see it.
If the anti-choice people want to stand on the street corner and talk to passers-by (as they do on Valencia St by the Planned Parenthood) then fair enough. THAT is free speech. Advertising billboards, however? Not so much.
As is, this is a straight up culture/media hack. A little amateurish compared the seamless pieces the Billboard Liberation Front (to cite a home-grown example) has done, but everyone has to start somewhere. Again, kudos to whomever is responsible for this.
The 1st Amendment protects the individual’s speech against the government. A private citizen cannot impede on anyone’s speech excepting examples where someone in a civilian position of power over you tries to control your speech. Like your boss saying you can’t do or say something outside of work for fear of being fired. That’s still not a 1st Amendment issue but a legal one nonetheless.
Not that any of this matter because most people support the government taking away the free press and citizens rights to speech but fly off the handle when an individual fights back.
This billboard is tame compared to some of the straight up lies and scientific fallacies I’ve seen.
Anyway it comes down (as it always does) to property rights being more important than human rights. Conservatives play this game where they insert some non-constitutional law, asserting it a right, when people are obviously being violated. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone. You are your bank account, nothing more, nothing less.
I’m pro-choice, a veteran volunteer of clinic defense back in the day, and I formed my family through adoption. And I just want to say thank you, Scott, for your thoughtful, measured comments throughout this whole string. I couldn’t agree more.
Same here. Rational and measured > shrill and reflexive; moneyed or not.
Neighbor Scott, I agree with you. I believe in a woman’s right to choose. It is her choice and not the church’s or the government’s. Even though I disagree with the original version of the billboard and agree with the people who hacked it, for me it boils down to one principle: the people who purchased the space for their message paid for it. They have the right to their free speech. For the hackers, the message is this: IT’S NOT YOURS TO MESS UP!!!! Keep your hands off of what is NOT yours!!!!
Yeah, mixed feelings about this for me. I’m pro-choice, but the original message was about as “pro-life” (as opposed to “anti-choice”) as you can get, in that it never mentioned abortion. I notice that the media hackers left the baby alone, while obscuring the drawing of a fetus.
I guess we’re lucky that the other side doesn’t tend to use this tactic, or we could be subjected to another “redesign” where “pro vagina” becomes “pro abortion” and the spot once occupied by the fetus drawing becomes one of those awful bloody images from a Planned Parenthood protester’s poster.
NICE JOB, HACKERS!!!
Most all Republicans are so called pro life…yet they want you to have a baby then refuse to help the poor feed and cloth it…they want you to pay higher taxes on the child so they can take their millions and save them for no jobs for you. They want your child to not go to college since they are against lower interest rates on college loans. They want that baby to go into the military so they can have another war some place and make more money on making bombs. They are not pro life they are pro death. After all they say if you want an abortion dont do it….instead put the child up for adoption…I always ask how many they have adopted…and they always answer none…I can at least say I adopted two. CAN YOU?
Billboards are fair game for defacement because they take up public space demanding to be recognized and processed by your brain, and are affordable only by a select few.
This is a perfect example of justifying an unacceptable behavior because it suits you based on arbitrary logic. Sort of like “Vandals keyed my neighbor’s car but that’s ok – he’s a dick and anyway, he can afford to fix it.” If someone defaced your home, your car, your business… would you still think it was ok?
I guess the question is whether we really believe vandalism is a crime…
Have we, in this city, have become so desensitized by it that we now longer even think of it as criminal activity. The billboard sucks. Their message is a carefully spun tactic of changing the debate on women’s rights by excluding them entirely. It makes my blood boil every time I see something like it.
BUT, there isn’t anything ILLEGAL about what they’ve said. The only person who has done anything illegal is the person who vandalized the billboard.
You are absolutely correct from a legal standpoint. However, it is extremely important to remember that just because something is ILLEGAL does not make it WRONG. (Nor, for that matter, does the fact that something is LEGAL make it RIGHT.)
This sort of media hack is a excellentt example of something that is illegal-but-not-wrong.
I completely agree on the RIGHT vs. WRONG piece of your point. The vandal did something ILLEGAL. The promoters of this billboard are attempting to do something WRONG. Countering something WRONG while staying within the bounds of what is LEGAL is just my preferred manner of handling these things. Personally, I believe that more RIGHT can be done when you work within the system than when you disregard it.
It is easier to claim the high ground when you take the high road. As I commented somewhere else above, a vandalism incident like this will do more to solidify people against what is RIGHT in this case by those that will spin it to justify their WRONG.
Where we disagree however, is when you say that this is an example of something that is “illegal-but-not-wrong.” I believe you’ve conflated the right vs. wrong of the act with the right vs. wrong of the message. Clearly, the message that the vandal advocates can be RIGHT, but the act of vandalism can still be WRONG. “Illegal-but-not-wrong” sounds too close for me to the ways that pro-life activists justify the killing of doctors at abortion clinics, for instance.
Julian, billboards are *NOT* fair game for defacement. NOTHING that belongs to other people is fair game for defacement. Yes, they take up public space, in that they can be seen by the public. But if you are not paying for the space, you have no right to vandalize it. Recognizing and processing and affordability have NOTHING to do with it. Even though they are in the public eye, they are privately owned.
I add that I agree with the sentiment of the people who did the defacing.
Not being able to afford an apple doesn’t give you the right to steal or damage it.
When I saw it this morning, the billboard had been further altered. It’s no longer “pro vagina,” but the top of the oddly tall yet lower-case “f” is blacked out, so it now says “PROLITE.”
Activist camping and hiking enthusiasts forcing their views on us once again!
Rob, Scott, and Yeti are right, here. It’s free speech rights, pure and simple.
Plus, if a woman aborts, then she’s not a mother (unless she already has children), right?
See I disagreed until I reread the 1st Amendment.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. ALSO NO CHANGING BILLBOARDS DANGED PUNKS WITH SPRAYPAINT.
Okay, that made me laugh out loud. I believe there was also language in there about “getting off my lawn.”
Bozo, pro-choice means a woman can CHOOSE to abort or CHOOSE to have the baby. Pro-choice does not equal pro-abortion. The father in the picture is holding a baby so CLEARLY there is a mother involved. The new message emphasized that she CHOSE to have the baby but also had the choice of aborting. Pro-life means there’s no choice for abortion and also means a big step backwards to the days of illegal and life-threatening means of aborting.
Also, I’ve noticed that many of the recent pro-life campaign signs, such as the one on Bernal hill and throughout SF, have put an emphasis on the father’s role as a means of directing the language around abortion as far opposite women’s choice as possible to the extent of completely leaving the woman out.
I understand your point.
But can we agree that that ‘mother’ in the culture-jamming might more precisely be stated ‘woman’?
Surprise surprise! We get this lame ass political billboard (with even references to quotes from the bible!) right before an election.
Way to go Bernal! Thank heavens you people are still the ones i want for my neighbors! Down with big money and big politics!
Not to mention that this has been a strong form of activism in SF for many many years now. It is effective and clever and gets seen. If one is going to put huge letters spelling something out that clearly doesn’t sit well in that community, HOPEFULLY there is still some renegades out there to make a statement in rebuttal. I think that is closer to free speech than some big $ asses plastering their unrequested ideas into your cute little neighborhood! Keep that billboard pro vagina! Bravo!!
The big problem here is that we even have a large impossible to ignore billboard in Bernal. I don’t want to look at any message there. What about a painting instead?
The billboard isn’t there because someone said, “Hmmm, what can we put in that spot? How about a billboard?” It is there because the owners of the building saw an opportunity to make some money by selling that space for advertising. If zoning and city ordinances allow it, that’s their right. The rest of us don’t get to pick. We don’t get to decide we’d rather have a painting (unless you’re willing to rent the space and pay to place a painting there). The world just doesn’t work like that.
If you’re unhappy with having a billboard in your neighborhood then push to change the rules to not allow it. Don’t be surprised, however, if there is a local property or small business owner who says that the advertising revenue is one of the ways they are just barely able to squeak by in this economy.
Ms. Runner, I agree with Neighbor Scott. This is not about what you do or don’t want to look at. If you don’t want to look at it, look the other way when you walk or ride by.
I add that I agree with the sentiment of the people who did this, but not with their right to deface private property.
I am all for zero billboards in SF or anywhere; they are a blight. I am ardently pro-choice. I think this is vandalization and restriction of freedom of speech.
I agree with you, but only 100%.
I am no pro-lifer but this is juvenile, and criminal, vandalism. If this is okay, the it’s also fine for dicks to dump whatever they like all over Bernal Hill, right?
so good life owns this billboard, but do they get to choose what goes up on it? I asked today and didn’t get a clear answer.
so good life owns this billboard, but do they get to choose what goes up and what doesn’t? I didn’t get a clear answer when I asked and I’m all for free speech, but if that’s where my money is going I need to find a new grocery store.
It is best that even if we do not agree with the politics, free speech is not censored. I personally love the makeover for it sends a stronger message than the original one posted. This adds flavor to living in this part of town. Vanilla has never been a favorite flavor of mine.
Your comment confuses me. You support free speech, regardless of the politics, but you love the makeover and think it adds flavor. Perhaps I’ve misunderstood your point, but isn’t the *flavor* that’s been added censoring free speech?
I’m a billboard worker. These kinds of ads are placed in random locations sold as in groups as “showings” – based on % of market reach. The advertiser doesn’t get to pick the site. There are 1000’s of sites and 1000’s of posts. So random luck landed that billboard there. If you don’t like the billboard’s message, I suggest you take it up with the Supreme Court, oh wait, they already ruled on that.. its called commercial free speech, and its how i make a living.
Life is fair- You can buy an ad and say what you want too!
Every time someone vandalizes a billboard, someone like me has to risk their safety to correct it. We get heckled, attacked and harassed doing that. I have seen vandalism on displays that also damaged the safety equipment we rely on to work. You have no “right” to trespass on an ad display and vandalize a message. If you feel a posting is inflammatory to your neighborhood, call the billboard company, their logo is on top of the sign – CBS in this case. maybe they would relocate it.
…Or, y’know, just alter the billboard, as was done here. Media-hacking is a wonderful and laudable thing.
So, you are complaining about the fact that we dont like the billboard, but it is your lively hood… Yet, you are complaining that your job is too dangerous to do?? Dont you get PAID when you have to go up and lay out a new billboard sign? Your complaint doesnt make any sense. Are you afraid of the safety of your job or glad you’ve got one?
@ Herr Doktor- so its ok to vandalize (I mean media hack) your car if i disagree with your bumper stickers? You said that’s laudable so I can assume if your property is ruined your okay with it. Its all for freedom right?
Wait, my car is a paid form of advertising?! Shit, I had no idea! Who do I talk to about getting the back payments for the ad-space!?
Your bumper sticker is your way of promoting a product, slogan, group, ideology, or whatever on your property, but it is still advertising in a sense. You’ve just donated the space instead of charging for it.
Let’s pretend for a moment that this isn’t a paid billboard run through a national advertising organization. Let’s pretend that Good Life supported this message (which I sincerely believe they don’t, but this is a thought experiment) and placed this billboard on their property for free because they stand behind the cause.
Now it is the same as the bumper sticker on your car – a promotional message on private property that someone else vandalized, right? I can’t really believe that the sole source of your defense of this act of vandalism is that money changed hands. With all due respect (and I *really* mean that because this has been a very civilized debate – which I appreciate), I think you are rationalizing.
I love when pro-lifers stand up for what they believe in and get called haters and anything else, this seems to really show the class of some who believe in pro-choice! I’d be proud?&*&(
It seems there’s never an egg timer around when you need one.
say what!!! – I don’t agree with the pro-life stance, but I fully support your right to stand up for what you believe in. I think it is safe to say that there are “haters” on both sides of almost every issue. It is sad that class is increasingly becoming absent from a lot of public debate these days. I hope you took the time to read some of the comments here, however, to see that there *are* still people who believe in being pro-choice and pro-free-speech.
to clear up some mis-perceptions.. Good Life doesn’t own that billboard.. they lease the wall space to CBS, the giant media corporation, who owns the display and the related city and state permits that allow it. . Please do not think that Good Life has any involvement or control aside from renting space to a commercial tenant (probably years ago) who then adds a value of permits and improvements, and rents the display to their clients… for that matter, if Good Life doesnt own the building, then it’s their landlord that rented this out.
Now for the rub to the vandals – by contract CBS will give the advertiser (pro-life group) a vandalism credit for lost advertising! That will make this sign a freebie… Since the poster production (printing) of the ads always has over-run of 5-10% – just for this purpose – there isn’t any additional cost to the advertiser… just benefit – so they – the advertiser- get this sign reposted, and will get another sign for free. Probably an illuminated one too! Again- it will be for free – because you vandalized this one… so you really helped them spread their word…
Your vandalism is a blight that makes our environment ugly. I know that these displays are a tantalizing treat for graffiti artists… It would be great if the mega giant billboard firms were required to post local artwork on the un-rented signs.. or sell the space to local businesses at a discount..
Does this mean it’s OK to vandalize and shout down “right wing” or “anti-choice” opinions? Rather intolerant of such a free-thinking neighborhood.
Ok, I’m going to rephrase once more then give up forever.
Only the government can impede free speech. The free speech being impeded is that of the vandals. This is because property rights trump human rights. And it seems the majority of you are just fine with that.
So think about being fine with that.
Yeah, I concur. It’s kind of depressing how many people on this blog are operating under the misconception that the concept of Freedom of Speech applies to paid advertising.
DISCLAIMER: I fully admit that I’m neither a lawyer nor a constitutional scholar – just a guy who reads a lot, thinks analytically, and checks facts. There’s a lot of conjecture in this post, but I think I support my argument. Also, I’ll specifically point out that while I relied on Wikipedia as a starting point, I actually went and looked at many other sources as well, including an excellent article written by a Justice of the Washington State Supreme Court that explores the differences in rights guaranteed by state constitutions from the much more widely understood First Amendment protections in the US Constitution. Wikipedia is great for broad brush facts, but it is by no means perfect.
I don’t believe that this is as cut and dried as Elton makes it appear. He is correct that the wording of the First Amendment to the US Constitution is designed to prevent the government from impeding free speech (although it has been debated whether that restriction in scope was accidental or intended). Here it is for reference:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Where it gets interesting, however, is when we also consider the California Constitution (many other states use similar language), which has a distinct difference in wording:
Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press.
As I understand it, there are two fundamental differences between the two that are intentional. There are several articles on Wikipedia and elsewhere that delve into this, but I believe that the first difference comes down to this: The US Constitution has a negative command relating to free speech – i.e. Congress can’t stop you with a law. The California constitution has an affirmative right to free speech – i.e. you are entitled to that right. It is important to note that the mention of a law is a separate, secondary concept in this wording. As the California courts have interpreted this, I believe that the implication here is that the government is responsible for defending that right – not just failing to restrain it. It appears that the majority of the cases relate to speech on private property, specifically at shopping malls, but I don’t think it is a stretch to say that in court this would be cited as precedent. In these cases, the courts ruled that the actions of a private party *did* impede on an individual’s right to free speech.
Again, I’m not a lawyer, but there is enough meat to the argument that I don’t believe that it is as clear a delineation as you are proposing – in the state of California (and many other states), IT IS POSSIBLE FOR A PRIVATE PARTY TO IMPEDE ON FREE SPEECH. The article I link below contains an interesting quote from a New Jersey State Supreme Court case (which obviously wouldn’t apply here, but the language of both constitutions are similar):
“The court also pointed out that ‘one of the most important functions performed by state constitutional bills of rights which is not performed by the federal constitution is the protection of citizens against private oppression as well as oppression by the state.'”
In this case, we are talking about protecting the free speech of the individual or group that purchased the billboard space. Herr Doktor is proposing that this isn’t “free speech,” but I think that is a tenuous argument (more on that later).
The second difference is also an important one here – the California Constitution specifically calls out that individuals are responsible for abuse of the right. Here, we’re now talking about the free speech of the vandal. In this case, the California Constitution imposes a burden on the individual that their speech not “abuse the right” (which, for the record, is not the same as “abusive speech”). This makes it crystal clear that free speech is not an unlimited right. We typically think of this in terms of the “shouting FIRE in a crowded theatre” example, but that doesn’t mean it is the only limitation. Individuals must act within reasonable boundaries for their speech to stand the scrutiny that makes it protected. Breaking a law to exercise your speech definitely counts as a potential strike against you, although not absolutely so.
It is easy to reduce this to an argument of property rights vs. human rights and just shift the blame from blog commenters who misconstrue the US Constitution to the authors of the California Constitution who enshrined this restriction into the the state’s document. Instead, I believe that the issue here is that we are pitting one group’s speech vs. another (and, yes, I recognize that this hinges on accepting that the billboard constituted free speech to begin with – I swear I’m coming to that). There appear to be numerous cases (again, usually related to abortion debates) where the precedent has been set that it is NOT ok to hijack someone else’s speech. So, if we go back to the thought experiment that this is just a sign on private property placed by the owner, their right to place that sign as free speech supersedes my right to paint my free speech over the original message. This isn’t property law – this is an abuse of the right to free speech on the part of the vandal.
Now let’s finally come to the issue of whether the billboard constitutes free speech at all, since it is paid advertising as Herr Doktor points out. I think that two different concepts are being conflated here – paid advertising and commercial speech. Herr Doktor is suggesting that because money changed hands to place the billboard there in the first place, it is not protected. This simply isn’t true. I couldn’t find any reference to special restrictions on paid advertising, except in the case of commercial speech. While it is true that commercial speech receives less protection than other forms of speech, it is still protected to some degree. It turns out that this is irrelevant in this case anyway. The US Supreme Court has defined commercial speech as speech that “proposes a commercial transaction.” Therefore, paid advertising is NOT the same thing as commercial speech. The message of the billboard is not proposing that the audience buy a product or service. In this case, it is clearly considered political speech, which is the core type of speech that these rights were originally intended to protect. The fact that one private party paid another to place the billboard doesn’t diminish those rights.
One last aside – someone also suggested that this isn’t free speech since it is a sign and not *actual* speech. The Supreme Court has already ruled on that as well and accepted that non-speech expressions (e.g. signs, flag burning, etc.) are covered.
Based on this larger picture, Elton, I believe that your scolding conclusion that people are denying inalienable human rights to vandals to preserve property rights is based on an incomplete understanding of the rights themselves. Similarly, Herr Doktor, I believe that your expression of disbelief regarding other’s misconceptions of constitutional law operates on the same level of incomplete analysis of which you accuse others.
I understand if people want to consider this debate closed – I, too, have invested far more time in this than I’d originally intended – but I’d welcome the chance to be proven wrong. I’d like to hear your analysis of where you think the flaw in my argument lies if you still think I’ve missed the boat. I got curious about this issue and went hunting for information, learning something in the process. That doesn’t mean that I have it completely figured out, but I’m still always eager to learn something new.
Article Mentioned Above:
Justice Robert F. Utter, The Right to Speak, Write, and Publish Freely: State Constitutional Protection Against Private Abridgment, University of Puget Sound Law Review, Vol. 8-157 – 1985
I stand by my earlier statement. Paid Advertising is not protected speech.
Herr Doktor, you’ve made your position clear on that, but Neighbor Scott is right, there’s no support for that proposition in the law. Paid advertising, under the law, is protected speech.
Assuming you’re arguing what the law should be, rather than what it is, I still don’t see a defensible principle. Should all speech lose First Amendment protection when money changes hands? So it’s okay to shout down a speaker, making him unable to give his remarks to a willing audience, as long as the audience paid to get in? Or is it only money paid by the speaker that taints speech, rendering it unprotected?
As I mentioned earlier, what is wrong and what is right does not necessarily equate to what is illegal and what is legal. I have never claimed that altering the billboard was a LEGAL thing to do, merely that it was the RIGHT thing to do.
I understand and accept that the law currently operates under the concept that paid advertising is protected speech. The law is wrong about this, however.
To reiterate: Paid advertising does not deserve, nor should it receive, any of the protections offered personal speech.
So, this posting now needs an “After After” photo. Apparently, the billboard was replaced and has already been defaced again. This time the grafitti reads “Kill the shrimp” with a shellfish image over the baby.
Further cause for celebration?
Lumping Mollusks and Crustaceans together is never cause for celebration.
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Talk about a context stretch. Seriously, do people even read the bible in context?
Matthew 18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
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