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Talkin' Smack: All Rights Reserved

The story of a boy and his innocent dream By Dave Nagel
When I was young, I wanted more than anything to become some kind of artist when I grew up. Painter, sculptor, filmmaker, writer, musician: It didn't matter, as long as I could be involved somehow with the creative process. But there was a problem with this dream, in that it conflicted with another one of my ambitions: to become a wealthy and powerful tyrant capable of destroying lives and stifling the creativity of others, while somehow also acting as a shill for corporations and government. But how could I mesh these seemingly conflicting goals?

I mean, how could I create art while, at the same time, wielding extra-Constitutional power to the point where I could have subpoenas issued without due process and have people thrown into prison and make sure that their assets were taken away lawfully yet, again, without regard to due process? And, at the same time, have my art be responsible for all of this, to be a catalyst for ensuring that people would be thrown in jail and sued for damages they couldn't possibly pay? You know, really stick it to people.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Dave, that's a beautiful dream, but it's born of the idealism of youth."

I know, dear reader. But I've never lost my youthful innocence. Despite my aging body, I do yet retain my slender-bellied optimism, my back-hair-free Romanticism, my pre-pubescent craving not only to participate in the arts, but to own the arts outright. When I was full of the naivete of youth, I wasn't concerned with the details. I knew what I wanted, and, in my innocence, believed I could achieve it. And I still believe that I can make it all happen, somehow, some way.

But obviously, there were problems to be worked out. And, as I grew older, I realized that I'd have to face them.

I knew, for one, that I couldn't count on the government to help me out. Our government, after all, is instituted for the stated purpose of protecting the liberties outlined in the Bill of Rights, which are completely contrary to my own goals. Surely members of government were too incorruptible to allow even the slightest infringement of the so-called "inalienable rights" to slip past them. Such a process would involve years and years of subtle insurrection, maybe the establishment of a single party disguising itself as two parties, slowly passing more and more laws to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and placing collaborators in positions of judicial authority to support their interests.

But this is mere fancy. There's no way such a plan could work. You simply can't supersede the highest law of the land through inferior laws, through regulations established by extra-Constitutional executive agencies, through policies devised by private organizations with all the de facto power of a government agency.

Really, how could that work? How could the highest law of the land grant freedom of speech and press on the one hand, and then some obscure regulation or unwritten ambiguity of caselaw take it way on the other? What, you have freedom of speech and press ... "except when it's obscene, when it violates unwritten community standards, when it's a danger to you or others, when it has a commercial purpose, when it's controlled by a private organization, when it's subversive, when it's spoken through mass media, when it's defamatory, when it's harassing, when it's offensive?"

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