Everyone's going to want to talk about the new Supreme Court case, because it's amusing to say "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." Oh, maybe not everyone. It must deeply pain some people to say or hear the words "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," and it troubles them all the more that some otherwise halfway respectable folks think it's amusing to say "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." Some of them will be upset by the "Bong Hits" part. Drug use is not funny. Some will be upset by the word "Jesus." Sacrilege! And some -- you know the type -- experience "4" for "for" as if they were hearing fingernails on the blackboard.
Indeed, the phrase "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" is a good test of human sensitivity: The unamused folk represent four classic categories of conservatives. There are two types who who bridle at "Bong Hits": 1. people who want to control the manner and extent to which other people have fun and 2. people who are dedicated to the proposition that the law -- whatever it is -- must be followed. Those who don't like the use of "Jesus" are the sort who hear blasphemy in every "Omigod." Their minds don't go to a fun place when you quote words that are to you mere foolery. And then there are the pedants and spelling sticklers who are on guard about the degradation of language. What with Prince and text messaging and who knows what else, our language is under attack.
So now we have this phrase -- Bong Hits 4 Jesus! -- which enters the lofty annals of First Amendment law. Maybe it goes at the top of the list -- ousting "F**k the draft" -- of great phrases in the history of free speech litigation.
And how cool it is now to be Joseph Frederick, the student who got suspended from high school after he unfurled a 20-foot banner as the Olympic Torch Relay that passed through Juneau in 2002. (He displayed his words on the public street, not at school. The students had been released from school to go watch the spectacle.) Whether he wins or loses his case -- he sued the principal, Deborah Morse, for damages -- his name and his gloriously silly phrase will be inscribed in the constitutional case law forever. Some day he'll go to law school, I bet, and everyone will point and stare. He'll be a big law celebrity: It's the Bong Hits 4 Jesus guy!