Art and Freedom of Speech
Randall P. Bezanson University of Illinois Press, 2008 Library of Congress KF4770.B487 2009 | Dewey Decimal 342.73085
This book analyzes the broad range of Supreme Court cases that concern the protection of art and free speech under the First Amendment. Finding that debates about free expression (whether in speech or art) swirl around sex and cultural blasphemy, Randall P. Bezanson tracks and interprets the Court's decisions on film, nude dancing, music, painting, and other visual expressions.
Showing how the Court has dealt with judgments of art, quality, meaning, and how to distinguish types of speech and expression, Bezanson explores issues as diverse as homosexuality in the Boy Scouts, gay and lesbian parade floats, 2 Live Crew's alleged copyright infringement, National Endowment for the Arts grants and diversity, dangerous art, and screenings of the film Carnal Knowledge. In considering the transformative meaning of art, the importance of community judgments, and the definition of speech in Court rulings, Bezanson focuses on the fundamental questions underlying the discussion of art as protected free speech: What are the boundaries of art? What are the limits on the government's role as supporter and "patron" of the arts? And what role, if any, may core social values of decency, respect, and equality play in limiting the production or distribution of art?
Accessibly written and evocatively argued, Art and Freedom of Speech explores these questions and concludes with the argument that, for legal purposes, art should be absolutely free under the First Amendment--in fact, even more free than other forms of speech.
Through the support of PEN Center USA, Iranian American poet and translator Sholeh Wolpé has brought together sixty American poets to address the world through poems that not only meditate on the principles of freedom, justice, and tolerance but also boldly and directly address specific countries. Natasha Trethewey, Robert Bly, Rita Dove, Yusef Komunyakaa, Galway Kinnell, Philip Levine, Carolyn Forché, Billy Collins, Jorie Graham, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Quincy Troupe are just some of the poets whose work is gathered in this powerful new collection. These poets speak out in the tradition of all poets who speak out in uprisings, seeking to change the landscape despite an environment of oppression, torture, and denial of basic human rights. All poems included were gifted to this anthology, which will benefit PEN Center USA's Freedom to Write program.
Courting the Abyss updates the philosophy of free expression for a world that is very different from the one in which it originated. The notion that a free society should allow Klansmen, neo-Nazis, sundry extremists, and pornographers to spread their doctrines as freely as everyone else has come increasingly under fire. At the same time, in the wake of 9/11, the Right and the Left continue to wage war over the utility of an absolute vision of free speech in a time of increased national security. Courting the Abyss revisits the tangled history of free speech, finding resolutions to these debates hidden at the very roots of the liberal tradition.
A mesmerizing account of the role of public communication in the Anglo-American world, Courting the Abyss shows that liberty's earliest advocates recognized its fraternal relationship with wickedness and evil. While we understand freedom of expression to mean "anything goes," John Durham Peters asks why its advocates so often celebrate a sojourn in hell and the overcoming of suffering. He directs us to such well-known sources as the prose and poetry of John Milton and the political and philosophical theory of John Locke, Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill, and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., as well as lesser-known sources such as the theology of Paul of Tarsus. In various ways they all, he shows, envisioned an attitude of self-mastery or self-transcendence as a response to the inevitable dangers of free speech, a troubled legacy that continues to inform ruling norms about knowledge, ethical responsibility, and democracy today.
A world of gigabytes, undiminished religious passion, and relentless scientific discovery calls for a fresh account of liberty that recognizes its risk and its splendor. Instead of celebrating noxious doctrine as proof of society's robustness, Courting the Abyss invites us to rethink public communication today by looking more deeply into the unfathomable mystery of liberty and evil.
The prosecution of dissent under the Alien and Sedition Acts affected far more people than previously realized. It also provoked the first battle over the Bill of Rights. Wendell Bird provides the definitive account of a dark moment in U.S. history, reminding us that expressive freedom and opposition politics are essential to a stable democracy.
Dissent in Dangerous Times
Austin Sarat, Editor University of Michigan Press, 2004 Library of Congress JK275.D57 2005 | Dewey Decimal 303.484
Dissent in Dangerous Times presents essays by six distinguished scholars, who provide their own unique views on the interplay of loyalty, patriotism, and dissent.
While dissent has played a central role in our national history and in the American cultural imagination, it is usually dangerous to those who practice it, and always unpalatable to its targets. War does not encourage the tolerance of opposition at home any more than it does on the front: if the War on Terror is to be a permanent war, then the consequences for American political freedoms cannot be overestimated.
"Dissent in Dangerous Times examines the nature of political repression in liberal societies, and the political and legal implications of living in an environment of fear. This profound, incisive, at times even moving volume calls upon readers to think about, and beyond, September 11, reminding us of both the fragility and enduring power of freedom."
--Nadine Strossen, President, American Civil Liberties Union, and Professor of Law, New York Law School.
Carlos A. Ball argues that as progressives fight the First Amendment claims of religious conservatives and other LGBT opponents, they should take care not to forget the crucial role the First Amendment played in the early decades of the movement, and not to erode the safeguards of liberty that allowed LGBT rights to exist in the first place.
From the 1798 Sedition Act to the war on terror, numerous presidents, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and local officials have endorsed the silencing of free expression. If the connection between democracy and the freedom of speech is such a vital one, why would so many governmental leaders seek to quiet their citizens? Free Expression and Democracy in America traces two rival traditions in American culture—suppression of speech and dissent as a form of speech—to provide an unparalleled overview of the law, history, and politics of individual rights in the United States.
Charting the course of free expression alongside the nation’s political evolution, from the birth of the Constitution to the quagmire of the Vietnam War, Stephen M. Feldman argues that our level of freedom is determined not only by the Supreme Court, but also by cultural, social, and economic forces. Along the way, he pinpoints the struggles of excluded groups—women, African Americans, and laborers—to participate in democratic government as pivotal to the development of free expression. In an age when our freedom of speech is once again at risk, this momentous book will be essential reading for legal historians, political scientists, and history buffs alike.
Lessons in Censorship
Catherine J. Ross Harvard University Press, 2015 Library of Congress KF4155.5.R67 2015 | Dewey Decimal 342.73085
American public schools censor controversial student speech that the Constitution protects. Catherine Ross brings clarity to court rulings that define speech rights of young citizens and proposes ways to protect free expression, arguing that the failure of schools to respect civil liberties betrays their educational mission and threatens democracy.
The result of years of critical analysis of Israeli media law, this book argues that the laws governing Israeli electronic media are structured to limit the boundaries of public discourse. Amit M. Schejter posits the theory of a "mute democracy," one in which the media are designed to provide a platform for some voices to be heard over others. While Israel's institutions may be democratic, and while the effect of these policies may be limited, this book contends that free speech in Israel is institutionally muted to ensure the continued domination of the Jewish majority and its preferred interpretation of what Israel means as a Jewish-democratic state. Analyzing a wide range of legal documents recorded in Israel from 1961 to 2007, Muting Israeli Democracy demonstrates in scrupulous detail how law and policy are used to promote the hegemonic national culture through the constraints and obligations set on electronic media.
New Threats to Freedom
Adam Bellow Templeton Press, 2011 Library of Congress JC423.B3437 2010 | Dewey Decimal 323
New Threats to Freedom
In the twentieth century, free people faced a number of mortal threats,ranging from despotism, fascism,
and communism to the looming menace of global terrorism. While the struggle against some of these overt dangers continues, some insidious new threats seem to have slipped past our intellectual defenses. These often unchallenged threats are quietly eroding our hard-won freedoms and, in some cases, are widely accepted as beneficial.
In New Threats to Freedom, editor and author Adam Bellow has assembled an all-star lineup of innovative thinkers to challenge these insidious new threats. Some leap into already raging debates on issues such as Sharia law in the West, the rise of transnationalism, and the regulatory state. Others turn their attention to less obvious threats, such as the dogma of fairness, the failed promises of the blogosphere, and the triumph of behavioral psychology.
These threats are very real and very urgent, yet this collection avoids projecting an air of doom and gloom. Rather, it provides a blueprint for intellectual resistance so that modern defenders of liberty may better understand their enemies, more effectively fight to preserve the meaning of freedom, and more surely carry its light to a new generation.
What are the new threats to freedom?
when has authority not claimed, when imposing trammels and curbs on liberty, that it does so for a wider good and a greater happiness?” —Christopher Hitchens
“The regulatory state amounts to a regressive tax that penalizes small independent producers and protects
the status quo.” —Max Borders
“Europe tends to favor stability over democracy, America democracy over stability.” —Daniel Hannan
“The value of free expression is perceived to be at odds with goals that were considered ‘more important,’ like inclusiveness, diversity, nondiscrimination, and tolerance.” —Greg Lukianoff
“The masses cannot ultimately be free: only the individual can be.” —Robert D. Kaplan
“That old bugbear of postwar sociology—the mob-self—is now a reality. In a participatory/popularity culture, the freedom to think and act for ourselves becomes harder and harder to achieve.” —Lee Siegel
“As traditional marriage declines, the ranks of single women are growing, and increasingly these women are substituting the security of a husband with the security of the state.” —Jessica Gavora
“Ending the freedom to fail is a mean-spirited attack on the freedom to succeed.” —Michael Goodwin
“The only solution to the new threats to American press freedom lies in organized resistance.” —Katherine Mangu-Ward
“The new behaviorism isn’t interested in protecting people’s freedom to choose; on the contrary, its core principle is the idea that only by allowing an expert elite to limit choice can individuals learn to break their bad habits.” —Christine Rosen
“There’s a world of Travis Bickles out there, and they’re not driving cabs. They’re reading blogs.” —Ron Rosenbaum
“The first amendment ensures not that speech will be fair, but that it will be free. It cannot be both.” —David Mamet
Over the course of the nineteenth century in both Europe and the United States, the state usurped the traditional authority of the church in regulating sexual expression and behavior. In the same century philosophers of classical liberalism identified that state function as a threat to individual liberty. Since then, liberalism has provided the framework for debates over obscenity around the globe.
But liberalism has recently been under siege, on the one side from postmodern thinkers skeptical about its andro- and ethnocentric assumptions, and on the other side from religious thinkers doubtful of the moral integrity of the Enlightenment project writ large.The principal challenge for those who conduct academic work in this realm is to formulate new models of research and analysis appropriate to understanding and evaluating speech in the present-day public sphere.
Toward those ends, Obscenity and the Limits of Liberalism contains a selection of essays and interventions by prominent authors and artists in a variety of disciplines and media. These writings, taken as a whole, put recent developments into historical and global contexts and chart possible futures for a debate that promises to persist well into the new millennium.
Stephen Greenblatt University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress PR2976.G738 2010 | Dewey Decimal 822.33
Shakespeare lived in a world of absolutes—of claims for the absolute authority of scripture, monarch, and God, and the authority of fathers over wives and children, the old over the young, and the gentle over the baseborn. With the elegance and verve for which he is well known, Stephen Greenblatt, author of the best-selling Will in the World, shows that Shakespeare was strikingly averse to such absolutes and constantly probed the possibility of freedom from them. Again and again, Shakespeare confounds the designs and pretensions of kings, generals, and churchmen. His aversion to absolutes even leads him to probe the exalted and seemingly limitless passions of his lovers.
Greenblatt explores this rich theme by addressing four of Shakespeare’s preoccupations across all the genres in which he worked. He first considers the idea of beauty in Shakespeare’s works, specifically his challenge to the cult of featureless perfection and his interest in distinguishing marks. He then turns to Shakespeare’s interest in murderous hatred, most famously embodied in Shylock but seen also in the character Bernardine in Measure for Measure. Next Greenblatt considers the idea of Shakespearean authority—that is, Shakespeare’s deep sense of the ethical ambiguity of power, including his own. Ultimately, Greenblatt takes up Shakespearean autonomy, in particular the freedom of artists, guided by distinctive forms of perception, to live by their own laws and to claim that their creations are singularly unconstrained.
A book that could only have been written by Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespeare’s Freedom is a wholly original and eloquent meditation by the most acclaimed and influential Shakespearean of our time.