That strange feeling when you see your lawyer celebrated in a Ben Garrison cartoon

It’s true. The lawyer defending us is Marc Randazza.

The wall that protects the First Amendment is not manned with pretty, happy smiling thoughts and easy-to-love characters. That rampart is manned by ugly people, disturbing images, and thoughts that you could swallow no easier than if they were made from cat shit mixed with broken glass. The picture of them is a picture of ugly, scowling faces; burning crosses; images of mothers having sex with goats in outhouses; lies about winning medals of honor; and protests at soldier funerals. They’re dirty. They’re ugly. They’re mean. But when they all sing together, that collection of voices that most decent people among us hate, are collectively a beautiful chorus because when you weave them all together they sound like the same 45 words, the same five freedoms, the same First Amendment.

So, umm, that’s a description of me? Dirty, ugly, and mean? OK, it’s a fair cop.

Anyway, he’s our lawyer, and he’s not cheap. We still need contributions to our legal defense fund. Don’t hold that loon Garrison against us.


  1. flange says

    When a political cartoonist has to label everything in the frame to make sure you get the concept, the idea is weak. And the guy’s a hack.
    Check out Tom Toles’ work in WaPo for imaginative, lucid, simple, and funny commentary.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    The picture of them is a picture of ugly, scowling faces; burning crosses; images of mothers having sex with goats in outhouses; lies about winning medals of honor; and protests at soldier funerals. They’re dirty. They’re ugly. They’re mean.

    Two rebuttals:

    1) Right, because cross burners, raunchy porn parodists, liars, and homophobes have soooooo much to contribute to human discourse.

    2) When those dirty, ugly, and mean people gain power, as they have now, the immediately seek to silence the lean, beautiful, and kind.

    Free speech only belongs to those who would advance civilization and knowledge not destroy it. So fuck Randazza civil libertarian naivete and censor the right-wing, racist, capitalist, she-dening, theist, MAGA-trash before they ruin everything.

  3. Akira MacKenzie says

    Sorry about the last comment, but I got to listen to one of my father’s right-wing tirades this morning. I’m a little punchy today.

  4. PaulBC says

    I support the ACLU and I understand that they may defend the rights of people I’m not fond of. But puh-lease I am not going to celebrate their activity as something special. No, that mixture of shit and napalm does not smell like freedom. Likewise, amendments 4, 5, 6, and 8 don’t always protect the nicest people. E.g., the accused have the right to a competent defense, but this doesn’t mean that every acquittal should be heard as the ring of an unbroken Liberty Bell. The reason the accused have rights is because the innocent may be accused. It’s a trade-off.

    Also, about those 45 words:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    I count five (“abridging the freedom of speech”) that really connect to the concerns of this editorial. Church and state separation is of course a 1st amendment issue (I like Americans United for Separation of Church and State too). Press freedom is continually under attack and not really addressed specifically above. The right to protest and engage in political speech is far more fundamental than being an asshole just for the lulz.

    So on balance, no, the chorus of deplorables does not sing out a 45-word anthem. They may be protected by the 1st amendment in certain cases, but they are not the reason for it.

  5. says

    Wait… did Richard Carrier sue FTB because he was trying to enforce political correctness and silence the free exchange of ideas?!

    Holy shit. I’ll do another benefit auction soon theb! Political correctness must not be allowed to taint anyone’s bodily fluids.

  6. Jazzlet says

    Paul BC press freedom is addressed by the journalist with their mouth taped up on the lap top screen. I embiggened the cartoon becaue I couldn’t see all of the details.

  7. PaulBC says


    Right, how’d I miss it? I also missed the Twitter bluebird on the first pass. I guess that will have to stand in for weeping Lady Liberty.

    If I were to take this cartoon and a randomly selected Onion Kelly cartoon (and without knowing) I would be more likely to pick out this one as as satire, and more likely to agree at face value with the point Kelly is making.

  8. unclefrogy says

    I just had to go and look it up but the cartoonist Thomas Nast often labeled stuff in his cartoons and they were far from weak. I see no problem with doing that at all in this particular case either.
    a vigorous free speech does not guarantee that it will be genteel nor that everyone will agree with what ever you might say.
    Free speech in my view goes right up to incitement to violence. I see no reason that the neo-nazis nor the white supremacists should not be condemned as they regularly go over that limit all the time.

    uncle frogy

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    Garrison loves his… ahem… political cartoons who be filled with racist caricatures and unrealistically heroic depictions of the people he admires. Google his depictions of Trump; all muscular and youthful. I swear ,Garrison really wants to fuck Trump.

  10. methuseus says

    I’m glad Randazza was successful in defending you, since you were on the right side of the laws and objective morals. I’ve read some of Randazza’s first amendment screed online, and he has some very funny ideas of what is defensible.
    Others, like Ken White, will say, “unfortunately, this is protected speech with the way that the law is written and the Supreme Court has ruled previously.
    Marc takes almost perverse pleasure in talking about how he must defend Nazi and other speech because of the law.