‘I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it’: This is not fake news

“It is the nature of satire that not everyone gets it.” United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in Farah v. Esquire Magazine (2013)

I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
― Evelyn Beatrice Hall

This post is not satirical.

Regrettably, the type of healthy debate that is indispensable to any free country is oftentimes discouraged. We are afraid to verbally question authority on pain of being locked up, fined, or chastised for being cheeky schoolboys and schoolgirls.

Enough, we say. This site provides a forum in which students, writers, and readers can participate by means of satire in the free marketplace of ideas, and understand the indispensable role that free speech and expression play in a healthy democracy.

The Beagle would like to remind you of a sacrifice that all of us, as responsible citizens, must make in a true democracy. According to the Supreme Court’s decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District (1969), student expression may not be suppressed unless it can be reasonably concluded that it will “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.” Just as importantly, the Court expressed that an interest in suppressing student expression based on a “mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint,” or “an urgent wish to avoid the controversy which might result from the expression” does not justify suppression.

Put another way, if we wish to live in a society that protects free speech, we must be prepared to be offended.

Our role at the Beagle is to create not just humor, but to foster a deeper awareness of the thorny terrain of public discourse. Thus, students, writers, and readers are encouraged to think about a multitude of contentious and serious questions. For example, what distinguishes free speech and expression from hate speech?  What distinguishes satire from defamation, libel or slander? When, if ever, is censorship justified? What is the chilling effect? What constitutes obscenity?

In line with our desire to think with students, writers, and readers about satire and free speech, we have made this site a save haven in which anyone can disagree with anyone else about anything. Nothing is censored (for that would defeat the purpose of this site) except the blatantly illegal.

We hope that writers and visitors can benefit from this site, and encourage anyone to participate. Feel free to contact us should you have questions, comments, or suggestions, and All Hail the Beagle.


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