There was a time when we were free men — firm in our resolve, hard to sway from the right path, working diligently during the week to earn our carefree, gay weekends.
That is not America any more.
Now you can be fired from a prominent position of public trust just because you spend your off-hours (well, and some on-hours) pursuing an obsessive campaign to document the sex life of a ten-year-younger college student.
Assistant Michigan Attorney General Andrew Shirvell has been fired by AG Mike Cox. He's been fired for little more than being a diligent, informative blogger. It could happen to you. It could happen to me.
All Andrew Shirvell has done is exercise his right — the right of a free man — to devote a substantial number of his waking hours to informing the public that Chris Armstrong, a student at the University of Michigan recently elected to student government there — is a radical Nazi homosexual reprobate freak who seduces conservatives into life of deviant debauchery and hates minorities. Shirvell is nothing more than a concerned and active member of the community of Michigan alumni. True, most other alumni are concerned about the football team or the school's endowment. Not many others are quite so concerned with the sexual activity of particular Michigan students not related to them by blood. But who are you to tell Shirvell what to blog about? Do you try to come here and tell me what to blog about? You damn well better not.
Yes, some of the things Andrew Shirvell did, and said, make some people uncomfortable. Using his spare time to lengthy, penetrating exposes about the sexual preference of a young student who is a complete stranger to him, speculating endlessly about the particular sexual activities of that young man and young, studious, athletic men like him, discussing the sorts of sexual activities that gay people engage in, imagining what particular young men might look like if they were wearing Nazi regalia during their illicit sexual liaisons, and descanting upon scenarios of young, athletic, persuasive men overcoming the resistance of young conservatives — these subjects are not to everybody's taste. You know why not? Homophobia. People are uncomfortable with all that gay stuff. Uptight people who need to be dragged into this century. I don't care what Leviticus says. This is the 21st century. If a slight, well-dressed, painfully awkward young single man with effeminate mannerisms wants to create the definitive blog about the gay sex life of a single, unrelated, handsome young college student ten years his junior, then this is America, damnit, and he ought to be able to. He ought to be able to whatever he wants, without homophobic universities banning him from campus and issuing unromantic stay-away orders or the straight man's courts confining him with sexually repressed restraining orders. "Cyber-bullying" indeed. Is it bullying to admire someone from afar? Is it bullying to write sad, wistful poetry? Is it bullying to wait, watch, patiently for that perfect clear shining moment when the object of your love doesn't close his blinds? The courts — and three of my exes — might say yes, but Andrew Shirvell and I say no, no, a thousand times no.
I dream. I dream of a day when the convoluted caselaw relating to the First Amendment rights of public employees is clarified. I dream of a time when government officials charged with the public trust forget about stolid, backwards concepts like "credibility" and "appearance of impropriety" and "expense of concerned coworkers asking for police escorts back to their cars in the parking garage", and set free the Andrew Shirvells of this work to have their say and live their lives in the open, free of judgment. I dream of when Andrew Shirvell need not fear the judgment of Cox. I dream of a day when Andrew Shirvell is restored to his position, once again allowed to stand erect in court and intone "my name is Andrew Shirvell, and I represent the People of the State of Michigan, particularly those who are 18-20, athletic, and in need of being told how dirty, dirty, dirty they are." I dream of that day. Don't you dream? I know Andrew Shirvell does.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Shock, Dismay In Academia At Scorpion Acting Like Scorpion - June 28th, 2017
- Free Speech Triumphant Or Free Speech In Retreat? - June 21st, 2017
- The Power To Generate Crimes Rather Than Merely Investigate Them - June 19th, 2017
- Free Speech, The Goose, And The Gander - June 17th, 2017
- Free Speech Tropes In The LA Times - June 8th, 2017