Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Bullying Speech and the Right to Boo

October 24, 1992

In his review of the concert to salute Bob Dylan ("Legacy Lost at Tribute to Dylan," Oct. 19), Robert Hilburn contradicts himself when he criticizes the other musicians on the show for not defending Sinead O'Connor's right to be heard after she was booed off the stage, presumably because she tore up a photo of the Pope during an appearance on "Saturday Night Live."

Hilburn writes: "The surprise--in the context of a night designed to pay tribute to the man who had made rock a forum for ideas and debate--is that the rest of the musicians in the show let the crowd get away with silencing her . . . no one following her to the stage defended O'Connor's right to be heard or chastised the audience for its bullying tactics."

What about O'Connor's bullying tactics or the audience's right to be heard? Were the actors on "Saturday Night Live" wrong not to defend the Pope's point of view immediately after O'Connor's appearance? Are we as mere audience members supposed to keep our lowly mouths shut and only allow public figures to voice opinions? Can O'Connor really say anything she wants to anybody at any time?

The answer to this last question is, thankfully and emphatically, "Yes." O'Connor has the right to voice her opinion or keep her mouth shut, whichever she chooses and regardless of how we may feel about it. And, so long as America is free, the same goes for the rest of us bullies.

JIM O'NEEL Los Angeles

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|