Harvard’s admissions committee ended the week standing beside Massachusetts Governor Gerald “McNutty” Wanker as he advocated for a new law strengthening penalties against cyberbullying.
The move was another eye-raising one by the Ivy League institution, which started the week by rescinding the admission of an incoming freshman for making stupid remarks at age sixteen in a private Google document.
“We’re certainly not criminalizing speech,” remarked Governor Wanker, as cameras flashed on his Botox-enhanced grin.
That would run foul of the First Amendment, or so the ACLU and a boatload of lawyers tell me. What we’re doing here is criminalizing conduct! Kids have to know telling their peers to eat shit and die on Facebook is not okay, and when we lock someone away for fifty years because of a hateful tweet, it’ll be a wakeup call.
No one apparently told the Governor conduct could be protected speech. In all fairness, when Governor Wanker wanted something done, it usually managed to get done.
The Anti Saying Stupid Hateful Online Legislated Ethics bill, originally passed three years ago, criminalized hateful targeted harassment if a pattern of conduct could be established and the recipient of nasty hurtful words suffered actual harm. Realizing this was too narrow for their liking, Massachusetts lawmakers set on a bipartisan quest to make the bill’s wording as vague and overbroad as possible.
Senator Pushy Prohibitor drafted a provision in the new bill criminalizing use of the words “a, an, or the.” Representative Fussy McBossypants argued the current minimum sentence of one year probation and a $500 fine wasn’t enough, so legislators upped the punishment in the new law to a minimum fifty years in prison, balanced by a reduced fine of only $250.
“Deterrence is a key feature in our new law,” McBossypants said when asked for comment. “Our children know felonies are bad, so if we make saying stupid things on Twitter a felony, they’ll be far kinder to their peers.”
“This is not the time to discuss whether our law is ‘void for vagueness’ or ‘overbroad,’” Senator Prohibitor nodded in agreement. “Our children need a kinder Internet, and Governor Wanker’s signature on our updated law means Massachusetts children will look forward to a better, safer online experience.”
“Oh we’ll have the discussion,” quipped New England ACLU communications director Randy Dubblespeak. “We’re promising today to fight this in the courts, and we’ll pledge our support to the first marginalized person arrested under this law after we hit another $100 million in fundraising!”
“I’m not sure how you can even begin to enforce this law,” said Constitutional Law Professor Stewart Thoughtcrime of Harvard Law School. “What are police going to do? Set up brand new divisions whose job is to patrol the internet looking for every word or phrase they deem hateful?”
Professor Thoughtcrime slumped in his office chair, held his head in his hands, and quietly muttered “We’re all going to hell” on learning the new bill appropriated $500 million for exactly that purpose.
“I’m just glad they’re doing something to prevent my little Timmy from cyberbullying,” said Caroline McPhee, a Cambridge resident and mother of three. “Just last week I saw someone post “Die Timmy Die” on my son’s Instagram and it was heartbreaking as a mother.”
McPhee’s relief turned to cries of anguish and fear when a SWAT team pulled Timmy from her suburban home, Wii controller in hand. “All I did was tell some dude to suck my dick after I shot him on Call of Duty!” the juvenile deviant exclaimed as cops slapped on handcuffs.
Talks are in place between the Governor’s mansion and Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. about how to make this new state legislation a model law combating cyber-bullying at the federal level.
“We need to make it more palatable for the public,” mused Senator Rod Doomhammer, (I-MA). “Maybe name it after a kid. They love any law that’s named after a kid!”
“Kyle’s Law it is!”