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Regarding Grant Piper’s Feb. 25 letter, “Freedom to dislike anything“: True, short of libel, Americans have the right to express politically incorrect hateful, twisted thoughts. And, indeed, consumers can (and sometimes do) vote nay against entertainment and sports personalities by withholding dollars. But the beat goes on and the free market isn’t an effective mechanism for dealing with the hate and racist mongering so rampant lately.

Piper seems detached from this epidemic of hateful rants by celebrities who are often role models for young people, if not influential figures for many others. He instead quibbles about the appropriateness of using the word “tirade” and the tendency to identify a “dislike” as a “phobia,” while neglecting the impact of society’s descent into this ugliness.

I assume he and I can agree on some points. One is that such speech is reprehensible. Although we might not patronize the likes of ex-basketball star Tim Hardaway or actor/director Mel Gibson, et al., I believe that there are, unfortunately, enough undiscerning lowbrow consumers to keep these celebrities deep in clover. Piper trusts we will finally win out; I disagree. Only by industries’ imposing decency standards stipulated by contract will the problem be tackled.

robert lezzi

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