Will some of you stop pretending you’ve never seen pornography on the internet, which connects us all, amen? (I’m contractually obligated to add the phrase “which connects us all, amen” whenever I use the word “internet.” Whether or not the word “internet” should be capitalized is a matter for another day. Today, it is not capitalized. Deal with it.)

I hate neither porn nor the World Wide Waterslide.

I am not a ninny. I am not a mooncalf.

I’m a modern person, not some fuddy-duddy!

Someone hacked Facebook this week and yadda yadda yadda porn.

Here’s a tip: You don’t have to look at the bad, bad porn. You can close that window and go to the site with all the bible verses.

You don’t have to see anything you don’t want to see, because you have eyelids. You can wear a paper sack on your head all day long if you want to, Herbert. Because this is America, a land mass in the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, and you are free.

Of course, total freedom is a myth. There are a whole bunch of niceties and rules we all more or less agree to acknowledge.

Presto! Culture. Society. Civilization.

You can walk up to someone and punch them in the nose, but there will be consequences. Society will fix your wagon. In time, you, the puncher, will realize it is not cool to go around punching people in the nose.

(All this porn and civil unrest has me thinking large thoughts. Large thoughts actually expand one’s head, so if you’re wearing a cap or a hat, please remove it now. I’m not paying for any damaged headgear.)

I believe it is a fine thing to take a stand against economic inequality and rapacious institutions.

I believe citizens in a republic have the right to assemble in public and protest anything they want, as long as they aren’t punching anyone in the nose.

I believe when public officials treat non-violent protestors like criminals, they are putting their legitimacy on the line.

Oh, and I believe the human body is not inherently shameful. I mean, some of us let ourselves go, sure. Not everyone looks better naked. Let’s be clear about that.

I have a theory about sex and violence and politics in America. This theory is based on decades of non-scientific yet rather close observation.

But theorizing is a risky business. You can give people the impression you think your theory is the only intelligent one, or that you’re putting yourself above the fray.

I am fine with being in the fray. It’s just another day on the frontier, as far as I’m concerned. Forward, pilgrims.

America is still the great experiment. I don’t think Alexis de Tocqueville would be too surprised if he caught a ride on a time machine to 2011. He might freak out over, you know, iPads and junk like that. But at the state of our culture and politics, I doubt Tocqueville would do little more than shrug. Told you so.

Have you read the Declaration of Independence lately? I have! It’s one wild little document.

Apparently, when someone is tyrannizing your space, you can just whip up a broadside that declares everything you believe to be self-evident, level a whole bunch of serious-sounding charges, and create your own assemblage of independent states.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I’m glad Thomas Jefferson and the other 55 founding lawyers rolled the dice on that one. Giving the finger to King George III turned out to be the right call, I think.

Whether or not we’ve lost our revolutionary fervor is another matter.

America has turned out some great revolutionaries. My personal favorites include Aaron Burr, Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Herman Melville, Elvis Presley, Mae West, Abraham Lincoln, Louis Armstrong, Buster Keaton, Patti Smith, Brian Wilson, Malcolm X, and Pee-wee Herman.

The list goes on and on. It contains friends, acquaintances and even some whose names I’ve forgotten. But they all increased the size of my noggin with words or deeds or both.

Anyone who occupies his or her own soul is a revolutionary, I think. It’s a lifetime’s work, and it will not necessarily make you rich or happy.

It will only make you free.

_____________________

John Hicks advises you to listen to “California Girls” one more time.

John Hicks lives outside the city limits, where eagles dare.

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