Monday, March 19, 2007

Bong hits for the 1st amendment...

Even if Joseph Frederick loses his case before the Supreme Court, he has won. Somehow the battle he fought as an experiment of the first amendment has given a meaningless, if somewhat provocative phrase national prominence.

Frederick's sign, held up across the street from his high school, read "Bong hits for Jesus". The sign was displayed as the Olympic torch passed through town, and earned Frederick a suspension. But what is truly ironic from my point of view is the prominence given to this absurd phrase because some high school principal saw fit to punish a student for trying to make this absurd phrase prominent. If principal Morse had known then what she knows now, do you think her sense of moral outrage would have been over ruled by her common sense.

It is because of her that the phrase bong hits for Jesus is famous across the land. That phrase would never have headlined and other news sites, been broadcast by the networks and radio talking heads... or even been mentioned on this simple little blog without principal Morse's helping hand. Without her assistance that phrase would have caused a few chuckles along the parade route, maybe a letter or two to the editor of the paper and then would have been forgotten with the passage of time. Now it is a part of the record of the Supreme Court! Frederick's experiment has been very telling indeed.

In this case it is clear that even if Frederick loses before the Supreme Court, he has won. His silly phrase is headlines across the land. Beyond the questions raised by the first amendment Frederick has proven another truism. The best way to kill an idea may be to simply ignore it, and let it die in the footnotes of local history. Fighting a thought or a phrase only puts it out there. In the case of bong hits for Jesus, it has taken a life of it's own because some person in authority tried to shut it down.

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