(pictured: one man protest outside my gaff)
My mate Jimmy is pretty smart. He's read most of The God Delusion and posts regularly on politics.ie. He's a real thinker and cares about stuff and that. 'Let's do our bit for the principle of freedom of speech and draw Mohammad in risqué situations', he said and took out a load of paper and crayons. We set to work. Jimmy drew Mohammad doing all sorts. It was pretty outrageous stuff. I won't go into details in case I'm dragged from my flat and barbecued by a bunch of fanatics. I'm sure you understand. It would be pretty dumb of me.
After a while, Jimmy took a look at the pictures I had drawn. 'Is that meant to be Mohammad?' he asked.
'No' I answered.
“Who is it then?'
'It's your mam.'
'Really? And who's that with her?'
'That's your dad.'
'And... and what are they doing?'
'Well, your mam there is taking a dump in your dad's gob.'
Jimmy said nothing so I continued.
'And you see that thing there? Well that's a donkey and it's got a big micky and it's...'
I noticed the expression on Jimmy's face. He looked kind of bewildered at first and then he looked hurt. Then he looked angry and then he punched me in the face. I immediately called the gardai and had him arrested. Then I scanned the images of his parents and the donkey and all that and put them up on a site called jimmysmamanddaddofreedomofspeech.com. I continue to update the site with new drawings.
I find the exercise to be both constructive and worthwhile. I am exploring the principle of freedom of speech and how it should be exercised, i.e. wantonly and without regard for potential consequences. There should be no consequences. Ever! A principle is a principle and that is that. Where would we be without our principles? The fact that my drawings of Jimmy's mam and dad are neither amusing nor illuminating in any way is beside the point because the point is that I enjoy doing them. I enjoy drawing them, I enjoy seeing the expression on Jimmy's face when he sees them, and I enjoy seeing him spend a few hours in the cells after he punches me in the face. I will continue drawing Jimmy's mam and dad doing all sorts of mad things with donkeys, badgers, cats, and patio furniture etc. and I will continue putting these pictures online until Jimmy realises that I have a right to express myself.
The main appeal in upholding this principle is that it makes me feel superior and gives me something to talk about. What else is freedom of speech for? Why else would I bother with principles?