posted on Dec, 5 2009 @ 06:01 PM
The issue, as it often is, is should a writer be responsible for the effects of his or her work, or does free speech trump everything else?
You could argue, for example, that poet Sylvia Plath was not responsible for the suicides or suicide attempts by readers of her poetry, just because
she wrote of her own struggles with it and did eventually kill herself. People have to be responsible for their own reactions to the world.
On the other hand, shouldn't writers who intentionally aim at inflaming their readers and consciously want to incite hatred and/or violence or even
murder accept some degree of responsibility for their actions and intentions? I would say yes, as in the case of the subject of the OP. He is
responsible much as someone who rushes to a fire and throws gasoline on the flames is responsible for contributing to it.
My husband disagrees with me. He is a free speech absolutist, as are many other Americans.
Countries like Canada and England have hate speech laws to deal with situations like these. These laws are not perfect; sometimes simple disapproval
of someone or something can be exaggerated into hate speech accusations.
I'd say that if one errs, it's probably better to err on the side of free speech. But I do believe writers and artists should carefully weigh their
effects on the public and accept a degree of responsibility for their actions and intentions.