Saturday, June 30, 2007

Bong hits 4 Jesus

Personally I think the idea that the Bong hits 4 Jesus banner had anything to do with drugs is just absurd.

It had to do with flaunting authority, nothing more, nothing less. It's a satire about the official stance on both drugs and religion, poking fun at school officials.

That, of course, can't be tolerated.

The agitator has some comments about the silliness of anti-drug war advocates taking up the case as a cause.
This case always seemed to me like an odd one for the drug reform movement to rally around. This was not an essay calling for the legalization of medical marijuana. It was a lame stunt to get noticed.

The fear was that the Bong Hits case would give the Supreme Court the opportunity give its okay for public schools to censor student political speech in favor of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs. While I'd have been more comfortable had the ruling come down the other way, it seems to me that there's much to take comfort in, here. Five justices have expressly announced that public school censorship of political speech related to the war on drugs won't stand. And it's likely that a sixth (Breyer) would join them.

I agree with him partly, but only partly. I think the SC has shown that they are perfectly willing the drink the Kool-aid in support of the drug war.

Ann Althouse has a more legal oriented discussion.

The Web of Language weighs in on linguistic interpretation of Bong Hits 4 Jesus with some refreshing insight.
In addition to dismissing the very real presence of Jesus on the banner, Roberts dismisses the very real possibility that the banner's words might be nothing more than a meaningless stunt of the kind that is actively encouraged by television shows where audience members wear ridiculous get-ups and carry outrageous signs while waving frantically in order to catch the camera's eye.

Despite Roberts' noble attempts to read the banner's meaning, what supports the nonsense interpretation is the fact that the banner's words don't seem to have either a literal or a figurative meaning. Any way you slice it, "Bong hits 4 Jesus" is patent nonsense, like linguist Noam Chomsky's classic phrase, "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously," words which look like English but don’t mean like English, words which illustrate that language has other roles besides that of communicating.

That's particularly true when the source of the language is a teenage boy. Teenage boys tend to not really care that much about using language to communicate other then it's use to demonstrate who cool they are. They don't worry about interpretation of the message, they just want to call attention to the messenger. Maybe someday we can get Supreme Court Justices who spent some time in the past as teenage boys.

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