Saturday, October 18, 2014

Muni's fatuous "Peace Campaign"

Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing, which is what I thought City Hall would do now that Pamela Geller is running another anti-jihad ad on our Muni buses.

Alas, the Big Thinkers in the MTA couldn't leave well enough alone. But this time, instead of press conferences and dumb resolutions by the Board of Dhimmis, the MTA is bringing us a lame, juvenile "Peace Campaignfrom its "creative shop," which the agency was "excited" to announce on its blog (below in italics): "We feel the best response to offensive speech is more speech." Yes, but if "more speech" is dumb, it's not an effective response. If you can't do any better than this, it's best to say nothing.

The framed quotations---with the MTA's logo in the corner!---from Maya Angelou, Nelson Mandela, and Mark Twain are supposed to be high-minded thoughts expressing "San Francisco values."

While Maya Angelou talked about love, she supported cop-killer, Mumi Abu-Jamal.

Nelson Mandela talked about freedom, but he also praised Fidel Castro, not known for respecting human rights: "There’s one place where [Fidel Castro’s] Cuba stands out head and shoulders above the rest---that is in its love for human rights and liberty!”

When Mandela was criticized for saying stuff like that, he played the race card:

Mandela faced similar criticism from the West for his personal friendships with Fidel Castro and Muammar Gaddafi. Castro visited in 1998, to widespread popular acclaim, and Mandela met Gaddafi in Libya to award him the Order of Good Hope. When Western governments and media criticised these visits, Mandela lambasted such criticism as having racist undertones.

Mark Twain may have been treated well in San Francisco, but he had a low opinion of life in the Middle East:

How they hate a Christian in Damascus!---and pretty much all over Turkeydom as well....It hurts my vanity to see these pagans refuse to eat of food that has been cooked for us; or to eat from a dish we have eaten from; or to drink from a goatskin which we have polluted with our Christian lips, except by filtering the water through a rag which they put over the mouth of it or through a sponge!...Abdul Aziz, absolute lord of the Ottoman Empire...the representative of a people by nature and training filthy, brutish, ignorant, unprogressive, superstitious---and a government whose Three Graces are Tyranny, Rapacity, Blood (The Innocents Abroad, 1869).

We can only hope they don't cover bus windows with this drivel like they do with a lot of their ads. But, like the ads obstructing our views of the city, the Peace Campaign qualifies as another insult to the intelligence of the people of San Francisco.

Peace, Love, Acceptance & Respect—San Francisco Values

We are excited to be sharing with you one of the best campaigns to come out of our creative shop. These ads make up what we call our “Peace Campaign.”

They may look familiar to you. We created them last year in response to anti-Islam ads that have been making an appearance around the U.S. and in our fair city for the last several years. Our Peace Campaign ads highlight the San Francisco values that we appreciate most: peace, love, acceptance and respect; they also include several stirring quotes that illustrate these cherished values.

Starting tonight, a new ad that is likely to be objectionable to many will once again be making an appearance on Muni. And, the Peace Campaign will run again this year as our response.

Why run ads that are likely to be offensive in the first place? Most ads on Muni are innocuous or even informative. Advertising contracts on Muni vehicles and transit shelters provide an important funding source for the system—to the tune of more than $19 million this year alone. We have an advertising policy that preserves our transit vehicles as a limited public forum, and that governs what ads can be placed by the third parties that handle the advertising for Muni.

The SFMTA certainly doesn’t endorse the content of the anti-Islam ads, or any of our ads. The First Amendment limits the agency’s ability to run ads with messages that we approve, while excluding messages that we find offensive. We feel the best response to offensive speech is more speech. That was the genesis of the Peace Campaign and why we will run it again this year.

The Peace Campaign will be running on and in Muni buses through the end of the year. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Peace! Paix! शांति! Paz! سلام! 和平! שלום! Мир!

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