Alexandra Petri on the Odious Kevin Williamson: Weekend Reading

Alexandra Petri: It is too bad I have been silenced: "It is with a heavy heart, and profound regret for the current state of media in America, that I have dragged my laptop to a Starbucks to pen this column...

...But I think it is important that we understand the degree of oppression we are up against.

I regret to say: I have been silenced.

I expressed an opinion, and people criticized that opinion. And since that day, my voice has never been heard again. I am entombed where none can hear my jangling bells, for doing nothing more than walking down the street, saying that women who get abortions ought to be hanged.

The mob has borne me aloft (metaphorically, of course) with their torches and—in their infantile gulosity—devoured everything I worked to build. My voice is trapped in a seashell in the grip of a NARAL-affiliated sea-witch, and I swim haplessly through the world, bipedal but voiceless. No. Voiceless is not the word I want. Sponsorless. Except for my ability to type and publish this now, the world has excommunicated me and barred me from public spheres, where I cannot exist in safety. I am like a mime (I once saw a mime on the streets of Chicago; I think this image speaks for itself).

My life is (metaphorically!) over. These very words are invisible to you. Simply for having the temerity to breathe (this opinion in the pages of an august publication) I have had my liberty stripped from me and I am now confined, for life, to the pages of the Wall Street Journal, at best. This is injustice.

(No, thank you, I am still making up my mind what to order. I will just sit here and enjoy the dulcet strains of Bob Marley. By the way, what is the bathroom code?)

It takes courage to pen, for money, an opinion that half the country shares. But I feel that I must speak. I must let America see what she has become. I call her “she” because I feel she owes me her silence and acquiescence; she is something to be talked about, not to; she is a rhetorical device; she is a puzzle to be discussed and solved before she returns to the room.

It was not quite an infernal journey that I began when I first sallied into the small intestine of America, towards the sphinctered cloister of the Discourse, but (lasciate ogni speranza!) I did venture into such fetid depths, to be blown away with a great thunderclap—not, like the poet-sage, to purgatory, but expelled into the Land of Nod, where partisan heads whose last perishing thoughts shriveled and withered in the sirocco belch of noxious tweets now nod their acquiescence to the false Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthus of Virtue Signaling. The rapacity of these cretins knows no bounds, and I must regret that I have been transformed, by their perverse animadversions, into an albatross to be hung around the wattled, sun-bleached necks of the nation’s institutions.

(I don’t think I will use the bathroom after all, but if anyone needs it, the code is 14479.)

Every day I have to exist in this so-called free country of America, I fear that I may pay the ultimate price: not having column space in EVERY publication. Think carefully, America. Is it not a fearful thing to ask that people refrain from expressing every provocative thought that occurs to them? Is it not a hideous imposition that you are free to say anything you wish, but sometimes people will respond by saying they would not care to read what you have written, and do not think you ought to be given a large platform from which to express your haphazard thoughts, and they would rather not work with you if you have repeatedly suggested they are sub-human? We have been cast into the pit of Tartarus by many tiny hands! I cannot (metaphorically) breathe!

When I walk out each day onto the street (of ideas), I quake with fear that the (thought) police (who determine who gets to appear on panels with corporate sponsorships) may take me aside and silence me for good. Every morning, I wonder whether I will be able to go home to my family (as a columnist in a magazine or newspaper with a wide circulation). I live with this fear every day, and I can imagine nothing more chilling.

Every time I give birth to one of these ideas, I fear for my life (in print).  Soon it will not be safe for me to go anywhere (intellectually.) These are all metaphors.

Anyone who has read my published works knows I understand what oppression is. Oppression is when you write something and then people online become upset. I am paying the price, each day, an unthinkable toll, and I feel inside as though a terrible weight has broken my body and made it impossible for me to exist in public spaces in safety — or, rather, some people yelled at me on Twitter, which is much the same. I ought to call the police! (Every interaction I have had with the police has been pleasant.)

I have been repressed. I have been silenced. You cannot hear me right now.

(No, thank you, I won’t buy anything. I am going to leave now.)..."