Media, culture, and politics from an aesthetic-materialist's perspective.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

He Lives

Regarding the Morse v. Frederick student free-speech case I commented on the previous post, I thought it'd be relevant to post a picture of the actual "speech" in question. Here's Joseph Frederick's inimitable "BONG HiTS 4 JESUS":

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Although both the opinion of the Court, penned by Chief Justice John Roberts, and the dissent, written by Associate Justice John Paul Stevens (and joined by Justices Souter and Ginsburg), were dismissive of the banner's "seriousness," I consider Frederick's banner no more or less "serious" than the 1980s "This is your brain on drugs" ad campaign or evangelical church signs that announce, "Jesus: Coming Soon" (and other such soundbyte-secularizations of the Second Coming). Drug (or "war on drugs") and religious discourses in this country have always mixed the high-falutin' with the (unintentionally) ridiculous, promoting "noble" causes through the basest of rhetorical methods.

The only thing Frederick was guilty of was making fun of the faux seriousness with which we approach drug and religious discourses in this country. His banner was pure parody and intentional spoof, and in that sense was smarter than what the Justices were willing to grant it.

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