Op-Ed: I Have A Right To Free Speech, So Let Me Practice My Monologue In Your Apartment


The right to free speech has been all but obliterated by leftist protestors at UC Berkeley. It’s right there in the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.” Yet somehow Berkeley students, as well as the Northern California chapter of Antifa, have failed to grasp that these sacred words extend protections not only to the now-mythologized student protestors that occupied Berkeley in the 1960s, but also to Milo Yiannopoulos, Steve Bannon, and other vocal members of the Alt-Right.

What outraged students at Berkeley – and Middlebury, and Oberlin, and Columbia – also fail to understand is that the First Amendment does not just guarantee all under the law the right to speak without fear of government persecution. It also guarantees all under the law the right to speak wherever they so choose, including in university-owned buildings – or in my case, in your bathroom while you’re brushing your teeth.

You see, what’s even more egregious than the silencing of conservatives by liberal college students is the silencing of me by you and your roommates, right when I’m about to get to the climax of Hamlet’s soliloquy. I’ll say it once and for all: The First Amendment guarantees me the right to free speech, so it’s high time you let me practice my monologue in your apartment, sans interruption.

I’ll never get this part at the Community Theater if I don’t practice, and I hate to practice alone in my apartment because it’s so hot and I haven’t quite figured out how to work the AC. If you don’t give me the space to practice, I’ll never do it, and then what good is the First Amendment? My audition is coming up, and the fact that you won’t let me run my lines by you while you’re watching TV is a textbook infringement on my right to free speech, and on my right to critical acclaim in the local paper for what will inevitably be a rousing performance in next month’s show.       

You raise some valid objections, I’ll admit. You say I’m imposing a tremendous financial burden on you by stealing snacks from your fridge between scenes and using your high-end shampoo when I practice in your shower. I’m sorry you have to foot the bill for my being in your apartment all the time, but alas, so it be written in the Constitution. Plus, those perks are all part of what we in show business call a rider.         

You say it’s three in the morning, and I better leave your apartment or you’ll the cops. Again, I’m sorry it be written so in the Constitution, but if the cops come you’ll see that I have just as much a right under the law as you do to stand on your sofa in order to really bring home the final lines of the soliloquy. Plus, I washed my feet before I got here. That stain on the cushion was there when I got here.

You say your roommates are ready to beat me up, and that you might not be able to protect me. I say, shame on them. There’s no justification for physical violence, even against a man who’s on his seventh attempt at, “To be, or not to be.” Fear not. I’ll get the line right this time.  

Your complaints appear legitimate, but in the end they just do not hold up against my reading of the Constitution. The fact is that the First Amendment doesn’t care whether you like what I have to say, or whether you like the friends I bring to your place to help me run lines. I am protected all the same.

I won’t warn you again: You need to sit up straight, stay attentive, and give me constructive criticism when I ask for it. The First Amendment does not give you the right to lead me astray with your uninformed, good-for-nothing feedback. So for the last time, my emphasis on “Ophelia” in the second to last line is perfectly fine. Stop trying to tell me otherwise.

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