I was reminded recently of some Monty Python’s Flying Circus episodes of a third of a century ago in which some cast members pretended to represent the Silly Party.
Apparently, there is a Silly Party here in Anchorage and its chairman is a gent named Dan Fagan. For those of you with worthwhile things to do and real lives to lead, let me fill you in. Fagan, a local radio talk show host, concocted a prank. He urged listeners to “disenfranchise” Alaska voters by signing up as write-in candidates for the US Senate. By doing so, Fagan appeared to suffer from delusions of grandeur and, possibly, sense. How writing in your own name as a candidate disenfranchises anyone by yourself escapes me. Of course, there’s no guarantee that people who sign up as write-in candidates will actually vote for themselves. If they don’t, I would think they definitely would earn membership in the Silly Party of Alaska.
But the silliness doesn’t end there. In an era where torturing people for being suspected Muslims is considered “letting off steam” and where insulting people’s beliefs in God by folks sworn to defend “one nation under God” is considered nothing more than a prank, a real prank is considered the same as a terrorist attack on a polling station in Afghanistan.
Consider the following quotes in our paper and on our cyberpages:
“I am mortified that anyone in the public arena would trounce freedoms so dearly won by our forefathers and so admirably defended by both our military and civil authorities today.”
“And for Dan Fagan to attempt to deny Alaskans their right to vote, he should have been fired and blacklisted from radio commentary throughout Alaska.”
“What’s Wrong with Dan Fagan is What’s Wrong with Politics and What’s Wrong with America.”
The way folks carry on you’d think we need Congress and the president to declare a War on Pranks.
Fusterclucks like these go on and on. First, you get a wave of demands for censorship when one group decides that freedom of speech has gone too far. So then folks consider pressuring the talk show’s sponsors to drop the offender. Then you get a wave of folks calling such actions censorship.
How about some reason? Fagan has the right to say silly things. If you don’t like them, you have the right to boycott his sponsors. But, I have to admit, you have a right to compare pranksters with terrorists, too. And, for that matter, terrorists with pranksters.
As for me, I will continue, not just to advocate for freedom, but also to limit as far as possible attempts to squelch freedom that offends our sense of political correctness.
I think the best way to oppose Fagan is to laugh at him. After all, he’s probably laughing at us.