Blogroll

Remembering Lenny Bruce

Today is the 40th anniversary of George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine. So why is this blog post about Lenny Bruce? Because as an Atlantic look at the significance of the routine points out — and as Carlin would freely admit — Lenny Bruce paved the way.

Bruce has long […]

Local newspaper censorship of Doonesbury is hypocritical

Open today’s Argus Leader and you’ll see a couple editorials on the “public’s right to know” in the local section. Go to the next section, though, and something is missing — today’s scheduled Doonesbury comic strip. Instead, the Argus ran an old strip. Where I come from — which is the same place as much […]

U.S. falling behind — in press freedom

There’s plenty of problems plaguing the press, particularly the mainstream media. The digital and social media world seem to have preempted or seriously damaged the traditional press. But I found this a real shock: the United States fell from 20th to 47th in the annual Press Freedom Index of Reporters Without Borders.

Twentieth was bad […]

Yes, people, the Constitution protects wackos too

Although it tends to be overused and misattributed, the summary of Voltaire’s thoughts on free speech — “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” — epitomizes my views of the First Amendment. More important, that view was reinforced by the U.S. Supreme Court today […]

Is violence the legal equivalent of obscenity?

Whether violence is a functional equivalent of obscenity may be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. Yesterday, the Court agreed to rule on the constitutionality of a California law banning the sale or rental of violent video games to minors, a law predicated in part on the Court’s obscenity jurisprudence.

The California statute defines a […]

Them thar are fighting nasty words!

So you’re among people streaming out of the bars at closing time on Labor Day weekend and, being a considerate and insightful person, decide it’s a prime opportunity to yell obscenities at the cops driving by. Perhaps not the wisest idea in the world but you might simply be exercising your First Amendment rights. At […]