think it. mean it. say it

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Final project for my art 320 communications design class.



    People have a hard time seeing outside their own established framework, but in my mind, that is all the more reason to have no regulations of speech.

    People need to have their views challenged and there should be nothing stopping anyone from raising their own views.

    Although I tend to think freedom of speech has to be taken as far as possible, I have to say information and knowledge is the basis of "speech".

    People should always be allowed to speak their minds and be true to who they are.

    You have the freedom to say what you want but you're held responsible for what you say.

  • from political convictions or political opportunism. Those with political ambitions know well that lewd pictures and loutish talk leave few people dispassionate.The urge to cover other peoples eyes and ears is as ancient and robust as the urge to shock, defy, or annoy, and words and symbols matter deeply to most people, even when lan-guage or art is peripheral to their lives. Which ones we get riled up over may vary, as will the manner , intensity, and so-phistication of our response. But words cut close to the bone, and the umbrage taken at offending speech may be one of the few things that unites across race, gender, class, and all other categories were not supposed to speak disparagingly about.

    There are costs to this culture of liberty that we claim for our-selves. At times, putting up with expression that is ugly, crass, wrongheaded, bad manners, bad taste, or just plain dumb is one of them. Some objects of the censors wrath are meant to be in-your-face challenges: rock n roll is all about rebel-lion, dissent courts the hereodox, profantiy aims to belittle, and pornography is supposed to turn us on. Thats their ap-peal and their usefulness. Defending espression that over-steps some line by asking what all the fuss is about misses the point. The necessary question is what kind of fuss we will have. Will we meet speech that unsettles with the catharsis of response - discussing, debating, debunking, deflating - or will

    we impose ever more elaborate limits on the speech we dont want to hear?

    Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right in-cludes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

    Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . .- First Amendement to the U.S. Constitution

    Nan Levinson

    A Democracy of Voices

    Americans used to like the First Amendment. Sometimes we added but at the end of our declaration of faith, but we had a real soft spot for the idea that speech should be safe from interference by those in power. The first of our

    rights, freedom of expression, was almost a civic religion, fundametal to how we defined ourselves as a nation and

    as individuals.

    Not Anymore. Sometime in the mid - 1980s, we began to hear angry citizens announce that they would accept this or that outrage no longer; something had to be done, and that something was shutting people up. Throughout the following decade and spilling into the present, we learned of more and more targets: teachers who assigned books with profanity, Websites that mentioned sex, artists who got grants, movies that provoked, songs that challenged, books that acknowledged ambiguity, anything that encour-

    aged independent thought, and nearly everything on TV. How commonplace it has all become.

    The First Amendement used to be the province of lawyers, civic teachers, the ACLU, and the occasional politician in need of a tidy stump speech. Now, we live in a time of talk: rap, memoir, news headlines that read like experimental fiction, conversations that erupt into blame mongering and

    moral certitude. When this logorrhea spills over intot the public arena, we turn ourselves into a nation of buttonhol-ers, all insisiting that attention be paid to our story, our be-liefs, our gripe. This, we tell ourselves, is democracy: one big call-in show where fervor is a guarantee of truth and having an opinion is practically a civic duty. Through it all, we stalk words, making numerous and noisy claims for their ill effects: dirty ones cause licentiousness, sexy ones cause rape, rabble-rousing ones cause, well, roused rabble.

    In this riot of word blame, not all motives are political, nor are all speech desputes played out on the political stage. Other countries kill their dissidents. We frustrate ours into silence, trivializing deeply held convictions and turning their advocates into cranks, or bribing discontent with stardom and spots on talk shows and the covers of glossy maga-zines. Offending Artist of the Week. Teacher Who Cant Teach That of the month. All the easier to dismiss their com-plaints. Still, the bulk of free speech controversies arises

  • Rosa ParksAfter a day at work at Montgomery Fair department store, Parks boarded the Cleveland Avenue bus at around 6 p.m., Thursday, December 1, 1955, in down-town Montgomery. She paid her fare and sat in an empty seat in the first row of

    seats reserved for blacks in the colored section. As the bus traveled along its reg-ular route, all of the white-only seats in the bus filled up. The bus reached the third

    stop in front of the Empire Theater, and several white passengers boarded.In 1900, Montgomery had passed a city ordinance for the purpose of segregat-ing passengers by race. Conductors were given the power to assign seats to accomplish that purpose; however, no passengers would be required to move or give up their seat and stand if the bus was crowded and no other seats were available. Over time and by custom, however, Montgomery bus drivers had adopted the practice of requiring black riders to move whenever there were no white only seats left.So, following standard practice, bus driver

    section. Blake then said, Why dont you stand up? Parks responded, Blake called the police to arrest Parks.

    When recalling the incident, Parks said, When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, No, Im not. And he said, Well, if you dont stand up, Im going to have to call the police and have you arrested. I said, You may do that.

    Parks detailed her motivation in her auto-biography, My Story:People always say that I didnt give up my seat because I was tired, but that isnt true. I was not tired physically, or no more tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in. I did not want

    to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time... there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didnt hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more op-

    pressive it became.Rosa Parks played an important part in internationalizing the awareness of the

    plight of African Americans and the civil

    rights struggle.

    Blake noted that the front of the bus was filled with white passengers and there

    were two or three men standing, and thus moved the colored section sign behind Parks and demanded that four black peo-ple give up their seats so that the white passengers could sit. Years later, in re-calling the events of the day, Parks said,Blake said, Yall better make it light

    on yourselves and let me have those seats.Three of them complied, but I didnt. The black man sitting next to her gave up his seat. Parks moved, but to-ward the window seat; she did not get up to move to the newly repositioned colored

    When someone speaks up for what is rightKitty GenoveseThe Killing of Kitty Genovese. Her public slaying in Queens becomes a symbol of Americans failure to get involved.It was just after 3 a.m. Kitty Genovese drove home from work and then began the 100-foot walk toward her apartment house at 82-70 Austin St. She spotted a man standing along her route. Appar-ently afraid, she changed direction and headed toward the intersection of Austin and Lefferts Boulevard -- where there was a police call box.Suddenly, the man overtook her and grabbed her. She screamed. Residents of nearby apartment houses turned on their lights and threw open their win-dows. The woman screamed again: ``Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please help me!A man in a window shouted: Let that girl alone. The attacker walked away. Apartment lights went out and windows slammed shut. The victim staggered toward her apartment. But the attacker returned and stabbed her again.

    she cried.

    The attacker entered a car and drove away, but soon came back again. His victim had crawled inside the front door of an apartment house at 82-62 Austin St. He found her sprawled on the floor

    and stabbed her still again. This time he killed her.It was not until 3:50 that morning, March 13, 1964, that a neighbor of the victim called the police. They identified the vic-tim as Catherine Genovese, 28, who had been returning from her job. Neighbors knew her not as Catherine but as Kitty.Kitty Genovese: It was a name that would become symbolic in the public mind for a dark side of the national char-acter. It would stand for Americans who were too indifferent or too frightened or too alienated or too self-absorbed to get involved in helping a fellow human be-ing in dire trouble. A term the Genovese syndrome would be coined to describe the attitude.

    Detectives investigating Genoveses murder discovered that no fewer than 38 of he


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