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Tommy: Is an anti-Trump mural obscene or protected speech?

Tommy Tucker, WWL First News
July 09, 2019 - 11:16 am

I think it was the late Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendall Douglas who once said “your freedom to swing your arms ends where my nose begins.”  I fully realize that Oliver Wendall Douglas was the guy on Green Acres. I just wanted to get your attention. Now that I have, let’s proceed.

A federal judge will soon decide if Neal Morris has the right to ridicule President Trump with a mural on his own property on South Liberty Street.  A neighbor complained that the mural wasn’t to her liking.  Jaqueline Perry told WWLT-TV reporter Jaqueline Quynh (not a typo, they both have the same first name) that she found the bare breasts featured in the mural to be inappropriate for public display.  She added that kids can easily see it when the school bus passes.

Ms. Perry complained to the City who eventually told Mr. Morris he was in violation of city codes. The mural is currently covered.

Are bare breasts offensive?  To some they are. However, it does strike me oddly that female breasts are considered sexual and male breasts are not when a slightly endowed woman or an obese man could easily be mistaken for each other if their chests only could be seen.  C’mon. They’re just nipples, and we all have them.

But back to the mural, which is completely political in nature and quotes Donald Trump as heard on the infamous Access Hollywood tape.  Pictures replace some of the words, one of which is of a bare breasted woman.  If I were Mr. Morris, I’d replace it with a pic of a woman in a tight sweater.  The point would still be made, and any objection from that point would have to be strictly on a political basis.  That would be a reasonable compromise for me.  We’ll have to see what Judge Feldman thinks.

Censoring political debate as offensive is trepidatious ground upon which to tread.  What offends me as an independent might not offend you as a Democrat or Republican and vice versa.  You may find suddenly find yourself on the wrong side of censorship with your message being the one censored.  You’d better watch what you ask for, you may just get it.  Here’s what our friend and Loyola Law Professor Dane Ciolino had to say when we asked him:

So what do you think? Should that mural be censored? What if it’s your mural NEXT time?

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