Some people think I stir up trouble just for the hell of it. But the truth is, I never looked for controversy for controversy’s sake. There’s always been a principle at stake.
Twenty-five years ago I was in major-league trouble. I had picked a fight with preacher Jerry Falwell by making fun of him in a 1983 parody ad in this magazine. He claimed libel, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court. Did anybody think I could win it? Hell no. But in 1988 I did—and by unanimous decision.
I learned a few things back then. One: Free speech is not something you can take for granted. Two: Starting trouble is worth it if your cause is just. And three: The bigger the enemy, the messier the fight.