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Ben Shapiro, Free Speech, and the “Don’t Say Gay” Bill

The cancel culture catastrophists change their tune when it’s the libs getting silenced.
February 17, 2022
Ben Shapiro Yells At Me About 'Don't Say Gay' Bill | Tim Miller's Not My Party

[Editor’s note: Watch Not My Party every week on Snapchat.]

Various and sundry: Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh! Shh!

News anchor 1: The so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill—

News anchor 2: The controversial bill—

Ben Shapiro: “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Tim Miller: Wait, is this The Silence of the Gays?

Shapiro: I don’t understand why this is remotely controversial. . . . Tim Miller, because he’s gay and he has kids, he’s very upset about this.

Miller: Damn right I am. And I’m tired of your hypocritical free speech bull**** act.

This is “Not My Party,” brought to you by The Bulwark. For the past few weeks, the internet’s most brazen defenders of free speech have been yelling about how Joe Rogan is getting canceled.

Shapiro: Make no mistake . . . this is a freedom-of-speech issue.

Miller: They say that we must defend poor Joe and his hundred-Milli bag from the woke mob that’s out to get him.

Peter Venkman: Poor, poor man.

Miller: In case you missed it, the backstory is that Rogan basically had some anti-vax lunatics on the show and said the N-word a few times back in the day. So the keyboard warriors are calling for Spotify to deplatform him.

Dakota Stanley (Whit Hertford in Glee): Get off my stage!

Miller: And well, my opinion is that Rogan has said some dumb s***, but isn’t that kind of his brand?

Joe Rogan: F*** yeah.

Miller: If he wants to do deep dives with conspiratorial cranks on his show, it’s only natural that the internet’s gonna make fun of him for it. And from time to time he’ll lose a sponsor. But that’s not a big threat to free speech. That’s the free market at work, baby.

Gordon Gekko: Capitalism at its finest.

Miller: But the cancel culture catastrophists seem to disagree with that.

Shapiro: We all understand what this is . . . which is an attempt . . . to deplatform Rogan!

Miller: So I don’t know, I like free speech but I have trouble taking these complaints seriously ’cause (1) Rogan continues to kill it—he’s not canceled! And (2), the people always obsessing over left-wing cancel culture seem to change their tune when it’s the libs getting silenced.

Cletus Spuckler: Prove it!

Miller: Case in point: Have you heard about this new proposal in Florida?

News anchor 3: “Don’t Say Gay” bill—

Miller: “Gay.” Here’s what it actually says:

Reporter 1 voiceover: Schools cannot encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity.

Miller: One Republican [state] senator gave an example of a type of homework assignment this would ban: If a word problem said “Sally has two moms” or “Johnny has two dads.”

Homer Simpsons: I never thought such a thing was possible!

Miller: To enforce the ban, the state would give crocodile Karens free rein to sue any school that got too gay for comfort.

iDubbbz: I’m gay!

Lionel Hutz: Fine, we’ll see you in court.

Miller: Now this is obviously insane, retrograde s***. It would mean a gay teacher couldn’t even mention their husband? My kid could be banned for making this super-cute valentine? You would think the free speech-defenders would side with the gays on this one. Right?

Woman on How I Met Your Mother: Right?

Man: Right?

Miller: But nope, Trump’s heir apparent and the top right-wing media personality are both all about it.

Reporter 2 voiceover: Governor DeSantis gave his clearest indication yet that he supports this bill.

Stan Smith: Gays!

Shapiro: As a family-values conservative, I do not feel that it is appropriate for you to be teaching my child about two lesbian mommies or two homosexual daddies. . . . I don’t understand why the priorities of Tim Miller or the teachers should take priority over the parents.

Miller: This little Napoleon seriously wants the state to put teachers back in the closet? What, now they have to take their family photo off their desk and stuff it in the drawer just because this guy got stuffed in lockers as a kid?

Shapiro (singing Javert’s song “Stars” from Les Misérables): “Mine is the way of the Lord.”

Miller: Here’s Ben on whether teachers should fear reprisal if they don’t obey.

Shapiro: First of all, they should always feel like they’re on thin ice.

Miller: So let me get this straight, when the Twitterati get #CancelJoeRogan trending, these free-speech activists rush to his defense. But when a teacher gets in trouble for mentioning their happy gay family, that’s totally cool?

Leslie Knope: Does anyone else here see a double standard?

Miller: There are similar proposals in eight states. Texas is removing gay YA books, Kansas banning any depictions of homosexuality, and Tennessee anything that normalizes the gay lifestyle.

Stan Smith: You can’t live a gay lifestyle!

Sassy Gay Friend (Brian Gallivan): Slow down, crazy, slow down.

Miller: Look, I’m sympathetic to the view that left-wing cancel culture can go too far. We did an episode on it a while back. But you can’t just stand up for free speech when it happens to be politically convenient for you. Barking about protecting speech and then leading a silencing campaign when it suits you is pretty sus.

Dean Pelton (Jim Rash on Community): Well, I guess we don’t see our patterns until they’re all laid out in front of us.

Miller: As for Florida, hopefully cooler heads will prevail and the state won’t put teachers and kids like mine in the closet. But in the meantime, if you live there, write to your state legislator and tell ’em what you think. And we’ll see you next week for more Not My Party.

And hey Ben, since you’ve been watching, would love to have a longform debate with you anytime.

Shapiro: Bring the hammer.

Mushu: This is gonna be good!

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large and the author of the best-selling book Why We Did It: A Travelogue from the Republican Road to Hell. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump and communications director for Jeb Bush 2016.