Free Speech For Everyone, Even The Dickheads

In e-mail, a request to comment on the plight of “historian” David Irving, who has been punted into an Austrian prison for denying the Holocaust happened, and doing so while actually in Austria, where such activities are criminal. Seems that Austria, birthplace of Hitler, gets a little twitchy when people suggest Der Führer wasn’t, in fact, deeply pleased that six million Jews and a few million other inconvenient people went up a concentration camp smokestack. Irving got three years for that and plans to spend at least some of that time writing his memoirs, not unlike his little buddy did all those years ago.

My thoughts? Well, first, I certainly enjoyed hearing that Irving twisted and groveled like the pathetic worm he is once it was clear he was looking at hard time, and grudgingly admitted prior to sentencing that oh, gee, maybe there actually were gas chambers at Auschwitz after all. Oops. His bad. You can see how he messed that one up, though. Such an obscure corner of World War II. So, yeah, that got a hearty chortle from me. And I can’t say I don’t appreciate someone who has dined out on attempting to deny evil having it crammed back down his throat. Emotionally, this all is a tasty Snickers bar of schadenfreude, to use an all-too-appropriate word for it.

Having said that: Look, free speech isn’t free if even the most odious crap-flinger can’t smear himself in poo and call it truth. People like David Irving are the crucible of free speech, as in, you can’t say you actually support free speech if you’re willing to keep dickheads like him silent. So, no, as satisfying as it feels, David Irving shouldn’t be in prison just for being a professional Nazi-licker. I am obliged to defend his right to lick Nazis, as clearly odious I think it is that the man feels like this is good use of his time, or of anyone else’s.

What I suggest we do is offer a trade to Iran, in which they can have Irving — who should become fast friends with that country’s Jew-hating, Holocaust-denying president — in exchange for a few of those Iranian bloggers the goverment is currently squatting on for the crime of having opinions. It’d be one of those “everybody wins” situations.


Subterranean Magazine Cover Art

Because I love you all so much, here’s an early look at the cover art for the Scalzi-edited “SF Cliches” issue of Subterranean Magazine, which will be out later this spring.

The cover is by Hugo and Chesley-winning artist Bob Eggleton (who did the artwork for “Questions for a Soldier,” you may recall) and reproduces a moment in Allen Steele’s excellent story “The Last Science Fiction Writer” — as it happens, the exact moment I suspected (but did not suggest to the artist) would make an excellent cover, so I’m glad Bob independently agreed with me on that. Clearly, it’s jam-packed with cliches, which is just the way I like it.

The magazine itself is humming along in its production schedule and I’ll let you all know when it’ll hit the racks. I am about 90% sure single-copy sales will be available as well. More information when I have it. Until then, enjoy the picture!


Friendpimping on a Wednesday Morning

Because you don’t read enough blogs, here are two more for you to go check out. First: SeeLight, the personal blog of writer Claire Light, whom you may remember as a guest blogger here last July. Claire’s FAQ entry is already a classic of the form. Second, The Little Blog of Murder, which is the group blog of five mystery writers from Ohio (which is to say, they write mysteries, not that they themselves are, like, all mysterious or anything). Sharon Short, one of the writers, is a pal of mine.

In both cases the blogs are in their first week, so stick with them through all the introductory stuff and see what they’ve got going over the next couple of weeks.

There we go: friendpimpery. It’s good for the soul. Now, if you’ve got some friends with some relatively new blogs (say, from the last three months or so), go ahead and pimp them in the comments. Because I don’t read enough blogs, either.

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