Headline June 04, 2015/ "' MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD ''' : !WOW!



JUST  -NOT SO LONG AGO, in a television show,  Bassem Yousaf, an Egyptian satirist, gave special thanks to the former President Muhammed Morsi.

The Egyptian leader provided such a wealth of comic material, he said, that the comedian team of jokers could cut production costs and get rid off half his staff.

Not long after, Mr Youssef got another official boost. Egypt's public prosecutor, at the time, hauled him in for charges of insulting the president.

The summons made Mr. Youssef, already the most watched figure on Egyptian air waves, an international symbol of freedom of speech.

THE UNITED STATES OPERATES an estimated 23,000,    -[yes 23,000]   public high schools, and-

About 400 to 500 book challenges are known to be lodged in schools each year, 
Mr Shipper writes,  making them look like a rounding error in our free-speech accounting.

Free speech martyrdom ain't what it used to be [by and large]  in this present world.

In America, over the past half-century, the courts have widened the channel through which the rights to speech flow. Smut prosecutions are largely a thing of the past.

The Post Service,writes the author, hasn't actively fished the mails for  "obscene"  novels in decades. A series of Supreme Court decisions, starting with 1964's New York Times  vs  Sullivan, have disarmed those who would inhibit free free expression with libel suits.

Another measure of free speech glory : Lenny Bruce's explicit stand-upact earned him court trouble and four month sentence to Rikers Island more than 50 years ago, whereas today, the same material would land him an HBO series.

Finally, thanks to the Internet. Americans by the hundreds of millions can create and partake of free speech with few restrictions or repercussions.

Still, there's trouble in paradise, the former New York Times reporter David K. Shipler finds in  "Freedom of Speech : Mightier Than the Sword."

Our free speech bounty still produces discord, he writes. He crisscrosses the land to provide close-ups of five clashes:

Parents are rumbling with the teachers and administrators over which novel gets assigned in class; federal prosecutors are muzzling whistle-blowers and journalists; a theater faces defunding for its edgy political work.

On the Internet, bigots are testing free speech principles; and across the nation, activists fear that the  Citizens United decision will allow the  moneyed to smother free speech with television commercials.

Driving into the rancour, Mr. Shipler, begins in a suburban Detroit school district where Graham Swift's 1983 novel  ''Waterland''   prompts a minor moral panic after it is assigned in  Advanced Placement English  students.

Toni Morrison's  ''Beloved,''  also assigned plays a supporting role in the panic, as parents protest the explicit content in both books. Here, Mr. Shipler is at his best, borrowing into the community to give all sides of a fair say.

Only the heartless with fail to sympathize with the parents, and Mr. Shipler treats them with generosity, writing in his afterword that he  ''came to know something of their anguished desires to insulate their teenage children for as long as they can.''

It's hard to fault parents for echoing newspaper standards.

''We're not telling people how to parent their kids,'' one protesting parent says. ''We just don't want anybody telling us how to parent ours.''

Still, book uproars tend to follow a standard progression, and nobody emerges from them looking very good. Objecting parents .............fretting that premature exposure to sexual, blasphemous or rebellious content-

Will have a deleterious effects on their offspring -------seem overprotective and unsophisticated.

Teachers look to be working too hard to defend the pedagogical worth of some of the books they have selected.
That  ''Waterland''  /   ''Beloved''  pairing,  Mr.Shipler writes was supposed to instruct students in the fundamentals of  ''postmodern nonlinear structure and new Historicism.''

The Honour and Serving of the  ''educational operational research'' continues. Thank you for reading and maybe, learning.

With respectful dedication to all the Students of the world. See Ya all on !WOW! -the World Students Society Computers-Internet-Wireless:

'''Speaking Out'''

'''Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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