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Stop the Clock

This petition had 8 supporters

For far too long I have kept silent on my grievances with “artists collective” Count the Clock. I have traversed all manner of doubts and distractors through my internal journey: “maybe I’m too sensitive”, “maybe it’s all for free speech”, “maybe they’ll just go away”, etc. But as no end appears to be in sight and no legitimate voices of dissent have risen up to question them, I am now taking it upon myself to shine a light on some of the egregious issues that this group continues to perpetuate.

We live in a polarized age. On the one hand, we have the “cultural libertarians”, people (mostly white males) who will defend “free speech” to the absolute end of the Earth, even though their version of “free speech” ends up equating with abuse, harassment, and unproductive nitpicking almost all of the time. On the other hand, we have people like myself, who believe that, while dialogue and freedom of expression are important, they cannot be held above basic human rights, for the founding members of the country did not grant us the right to free speech simply so furious reactionaries could get away with spouting off whatever hostile drivel they see fit to espouse. As Fordham Law Professor Thane Rosenbaum wrote so eloquently in his essay “Should Neo-Nazis Be Allowed Free Speech”, free speech is often defended to perverse ends, and emotional injury is hardly ever policed under US policy, regardless of how real or lasting its effects have proven to be.

What is even worse than a proponent of hate speech is a profiting agent of it. Some members of the Alt-Right (like troll politicking poster-child Milo Yiannopoulos) have taken the opportunity to thrive under the amplified fears of free speech somehow dissipating by building careers on outrageous and insensitive commentary. It is the same line of logic that motivates paranoid Fundamentalists to tear down a Star of David in the town square because they think there is a “war on Christmas”: unjustified fears leading to grandstanding and reactionary violence. It’s bad enough to take part in these rituals, worse to use them for attention and profit.

Count the Clock began as a legitimate voice for diversity and free expression but has, very unfortunately, moved into the category of profit-hungry fear-mongers described above. Where they once reveled in transgressive content for the sake of entertainment and open-mindedness, they now use controversial imagery to stir up fear and support a doctrine of light racism and anti-progressivism. Nowhere is CTC’s perverse conservatism more evident than in their latest video “The Blender”. “The Blender” is a maelstrom of extreme, unhinged offensiveness-a sick, racist, closed-off, ignorant, elitist stronghold of misinformed lucre. The goal of the video amounts to nothing more than exercising “free speech” by silencing and offending the voices of everybody else: Christians, minorities, queers, etc. It is an artistic hate crime: a nasty, malevolent, irreligious violation of all things that should be defended, crafted without the slightest nod towards the complex feelings of others. CTC’s privilege, it seems, has got the better of them, and they exist within a red state fantasy world where the “real enemy” is a prevailing current of radical change and accountability policing, and not the blind fact-smearing aggression of threatened power structures. If only they could see that the very people they so casually defend (Milo Yiannopoulos, Tomi Lahren) are the same people who will ultimately make it impossible for CTC (a group ironically dominated by queer people and POCs) to have a substantial voice in American culture.

I am a white cisgender male in America and I understand fully the kind of responsibility that that entails. I understand that my privilege is an inescapable reality, an unconscious “invisible knapsack” whose pernicious unfairness permeates every aspect of my existence. It is my duty, therefore, to defend the rights and voices of minorities and marginalized groups, to atone for my unjust position. And sometimes, this means silencing the voices of uninformed, paranoid, opportunistic reactionaries, even when these reactionaries are themselves minorities. For the burden of privilege is also the burden of scope, and the greater mission is to save these people, to keep them from ruining themselves.

I ask you, therefore, to join me and sign this petition to bring an end Count the Clock. They cannot be allowed to espouse their noxious opinions any longer, for their brand of free speech threatens the very sanctity of this nation, and threatens the lives of their helpless, desperate fellow people on the margins-people that CTC should know better than separate themselves from with such abandon.

Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)


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