I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing that makes me want to say something more than somebody telling me it can’t be said. That’s just one of the many reasons why the Supreme Court’s decision to ban the ironic phrase “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” among America’s students is so incredibly stupid. If the aim is to keep America’s wholesome youth from falling into drug use, well golly, there’s nothing like prohibiting an idea to make it more popular. If the Supreme Court aims to increase teenagers’ respect for authority, then using their authority to flaunt their cluelessness wasn’t the right way to go about it; are the justices really so dense that they don’t realize the whole idea behind flying a banner entitled “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” is to tease adults who deploy their authority in a heavy-handed manner? It’s not about the “Bong.” It’s all about false propriety and tight-assed martinets in power, who just showed their complete assholity again by denying the essential humanity of students but defending the free-speech rights of inhuman corporations on the same day.
In oral arguments, Justice Stephen Breyer whined about what would happen if some kid in Alaska were allowed to say “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”: “I guess what Iâ€™m worried about is a rule that would â€” is on your side, a rule that takes your side; weâ€™ll suddenly see people testing limits all over the place in the high schools.” Gee, kids testing limits. That never happens in high schools! Well, it sure will happen now. It’s like the Supreme Court erected a fifty-foot-tall sign with the words “Piss on this, Kids!” painted in bright neon purple.
Well, piss away, kids. You know, these authority figures really need to be taught a lesson. They need to be taught that trying to force people into shutting up is a bad idea. It’s a like Whack-a-Mole — people will get hurt, but for every free voice you smack down, there’ll be another popping up somewhere else. Or, ideally, two voices. Or ten. It’s time for young people to demonstrate that they’ll say whatever they damn well please.
Here’s one place to get started. Nab one of these shirts and wear it in to your school, letting your administrators know you won’t be intimidated into silence. The t-shirts you’ll see below are careful not to endorse student drug use, and they’re either provocatively silly (Gong Hits 4 Jesus, for example) or principled in their political questions (why do the Supreme Court Justices get to utter “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” on a high-profile national stage over and over again while ordinary students can’t do so on a single street corner?). Use these shirts to provoke, yes, but also to start a serious conversation, one that helps those recalcitrant adults to recognize that young adults have something to say, too.
These are just a sample, by the way. Check out the whole kit-n-kaboodle over here.