Protecting free speech—not its consequences

Regarding Wendy Melillo’s column “Whistling Dixie (Chicks)” [May 5]: Protecting the right to free expression is a difficult and radical notion, but it is and should be and must be only that—the right to free expression. In essence, Melillo espouses a deeper form of protection—from the consequences of free speech. That’s impossible and would lead to far greater repression than anything Richard Nixon—or even Saddam Hussein—ever dreamed of.

Dealing with the outcome of free speech is not the problem of the government—or anyone other than the speaker, as long as nobody breaks any laws. And for an advertiser to pull campaigns that feature people who no longer suit its purposes is not only prudent, it’s fair.

We all bear the consequences of free speech. Tell your boss what a loser you think he/she is. You’re free to express this opinion—in your next job. That’s what it’s all about, and what it should be about.

Bill Babcock
Managing partner
Babcock & Jenkins
Beaverton, Ore.

Having read Wendy Melillo’s sophomoric column, I have made this foreign-policy decision: Whenever I have occasion to speak to someone from another country, I’ll preface my remarks by saying, “Just so you know, I’m ashamed the Dixie Chicks and Wendy Melillo were educated in the United States.”

Paul Dever
Principal, creative director
Dever Frankian Advertising Communications
Milford, Mass.

For the Record:
A story on tobacco advertising [Creative, May 5] should have noted that Mezzina Brown & Partners, not Gyro, reinvented Camel as agency of record on the R.J. Reynolds brand since 1991. Mezzina Brown, not Gyro, created the Camel ad photographed by David LaChapelle that was featured in the story.