speaking freely, fragments 9-12
by jason hedrick

Fragment Nine

[This material is adapted from The Onion. “Bro on Sports” is my own hybrid of an Onion article and Orwell’s “1984.”]

Speaking Freely News 2

Thad: Speaking before the US Senate Tuesday, Herbert MaCallum, a retired Wichita Kansas insurance salesman and Navy veteran who fought during World War II to protect the inalienable rights of all Americans, demanded the US citizens stop exercising those rights.

MaCallum: “Wherever you look today, you see people using the First Amendment to openly criticize or protest the US government. I don’t think that’s what the framers had in mind. I didn’t storm the beach at Normandy to save democracy for a bunch of long-haired jerks who want to freely express their views.”

Lisa: Clarence Johnson, a retired Marine Lieutenant who served in the Korean war agreed...

Johnson: Let me tell you, if you’d fought and seen friends die to protect the God-given rights of all Americans, you’d want to keep them from exercising them, too.

Lisa: In entertainment news, stung by the flagging album sales and supplanted by Eminem as Middle America’s worst nightmare, shock rocker Marilyn Manson has embarked on a door-to-door tour of suburbia in a pathetic, last-ditch effort to shock and offend average Americans.
Manson: When we first laid eyes on Overland Park, Kansas, with its neat little frame houses, immaculately landscaped lawns, and SUVs in the driveways, we couldn’t wait to swoop down on it like the Black Death!

Thad: said Manson, born Brian Warner in Canton, Ohio.

Manson: We were like, “Welcome to our nightmare you bloated, pestilent pigs!”

Thad: Upon opening his door, Mark Wesley, a resident of Overland Park’s exclusive Maple Bluff division, was greeted last Friday by the sight of a pale, shirtless Manson carving a pentagram into his chest with a razor blade.

Manson: Look at me, suburban dung!

Thad: Manson told Wesley

Manson: Does this shock you?!

Thad: When Wesley replied

Wesley: No

Thad: he said Manson became, quote, petulant. Recalled Wesley...
Wesley: He started stamping his feet and shaking his fists, saying “What do you mean NO? Aren’t your uptight, puritanical sensibilities offended?” So I say, “Well, not particularly.” Then, after a long pause, he said...

Manson: Well...screw you, jerk!

Lisa: In National news, President Bush delighted an intimate gathering of White House dinner guests Monday.
Thad: Regaling the coterie of dignitaries, artists, and friends with an off-the-cuff discussion of the Roman poet Virgil’s lesser known works.

Lisa: According to guests, the subject of Virgil arose serendipitously, when a servant opened a window in the Red Room. Noticing the breeze, Bush raised his glass and delivered a toast to the changing of the seasons.

Thad: It has been reported that he then apologized to “lovely Winter,” explaining that he “meant no slight against her.” Bush continued...

Bush: The first blush of Spring always reminds me of Virgil’s words: “In early spring-tide, when the icy drip/Melts from the mountains hoar, and Zephyr’s breath/Unbinds the crumbling clod, even then ‘tis time/Press deep your plough behind the groaning ox/And teach the furrow-burnished share to shine.” Book one of the Georgics, of course.

Lisa: Bush added. Despite urging from dinner guests to continue his recitation, Bush declined.
Bush: I have already taken up too much of your time with my classical natterings. I dearly wish I could give you back this hour during which you so graciously indulged my dilettantism, but, as Plautus said, “Factum est illud, fieri infectum non potest.” Done is done, it cannot be made undone.

Thad: Also in Washington DC, a coalition of US porn stars gathered in the nation’s capital Monday, seeking to reverse a “decades-long trend toward shamefully inadequate under-fucking in our nation’s adult entertainment industry.”

Lisa: Jenna Jameson, co-chair of Porn Stars for Being Fucked Harder and star of Wicked Pictures’ Up and Cummers #10, #11, and #17 had this to say:

JJ: Deeper! Deeper! Oh, fuck!

Thad: The DC summit arrives on the heels of years of complaints from disgruntled female sex-industry workers, many of whom have repeatedly argued that, as cock-crazed nymphomaniacs who can never get enough, they weren’t receiving the deep dickings they needed.

Lisa: PSFBFH spokesperson Christy Canyon echoed these sentiments:

CC: I fucking need it so bad!

Lisa: Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert had this to say:

Hastert: They represent a fictional, media-created standard of sexual appetite that nobody, male or female, can possibly satiate. Quite simply, no man alive could give it to these wet, horny bitches in the manner they require.

Thad: Despite such skepticism on Capitol Hill, the porn stars remain fully committed to their cause.

Lisa: Now “Bro on Sports,” with your favorite sports Bro, Bro MacDaniel!


As you can see from the calendar, the game is coming up this weekend. I’m sure you are as excited about it as I am, as our cities are rivals and have been for quite some time. Your confidence in your team is high, but rest assured, you will suffer humiliation when the sports team from my area defeats the sports team from your area. On numerous occasions, you have expressed the conviction that your area’s sports team will be victorious. I must admit that every time I hear you make this proclamation, I react with both laughter and disbelief. “Ha!” I say to myself with laughter. “What!?” I say to myself in disbelief. How could you believe that your sports team could beat my sports team? It is clear that yours is inferior in every way.

When the sporting contest begins, the players on your team will be treated as though they are inconsequential. It will be remarkably easy for my team to accumulate more points than yours. There are many reasons for this, starting with the inferior physical attributes
of the players representing your area. Strength, speed, and agility are just three of the qualities that the players on the team from your area lack. The players on the team from my area, on the other hand, have these traits in abundance.
Underscoring your team’s inferiority is its choice of colors. It is ludicrous to believe that your team’s colors inspire either respect or fear. Instead, they appear to have been chosen by someone who is colorblind or, perhaps, bereft of sight altogether. The colors for my team, on the other hand, are aesthetically pleasing when placed in proximity to one another. They are a superior color combination in every way.

While we are on the subject of aesthetics, let us compare the respective facilities in which our teams play. While my team’s edifice is blessed with architectural splendor and the most modern of amenities, yours is a thoroughly unpleasant place in which to watch a sporting contest. I know of what I speak, for I once attended a game between our respective teams in your facility. Lets just say the experience left me wishing that my car was inoperable that day due to mechanical problems, rendering it impossible for me to get to your area to attend the game.

If you need another reason why the sporting franchise representing my area is superior, look no further than the supporters for the two sides. Not only are the supporters of the team from my region more spirited, but they are also more intelligent and of finer breeding than you and the rest of your ilk.

One of the more pathetic aspects of the team from your area is the fact that only people in your immediate area possess an affinity for it. By means of contrast, the team from my area inspires loyalty and affection in individuals who live in many other geographic locations.
To illustrate this point, let me tell a brief story: Recently, I was on vacation in an area of the country far away from my own, and I saw many individuals wearing items of clothing that bore the insignia of my team. I approached one such individual and asked him if he originated from my area. He said no, explaining that he simply liked the team from my area and had for many years. Interestingly enough, during this trip, I saw no clothing or other paraphernalia bearing the insignia of your team.

Do you still doubt that the team from your area is inferior to the one from mine?
Obedience is not enough. Power is inflicting pain and humiliation. Do you begin to see then what kind of world we are creating? Progress in our world will be progress toward more pain.
The day of the game will soon be at hand. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent, between man and man, and between man and woman. In the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth, as one takes an egg from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. There will be no loyalty, except loyalty toward the team. There will be no love, except the love of the team. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art, no literature, no science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. And no matter how hard you pray to a higher power or how many foam accoutrements you wear in support of the team from your area, your team will be defeated. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy that is helpless. We will win and you will lose. This is your fate.
Prepare for humiliation. It shall be upon you at the designated hour.
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.


Thad: And now...

Lisa: Kittens!

[A 3 minute video segment of kittens playing—appropriated from the Jan Svankmajer film “Virile Games.”]

Fragment Ten

DH Lawrence, “Censors”

Censors are dead men
set up to judge between life and death.
For no live, sunny man would be a censor,
he’d just laugh.
But censors, being dead men,
have a stern eye on life.
—That thing’s alive! It’s dangerous. Make away
with it!—
And when the execution is performed
you hear the stertorous, self-righteous heavy
breathing of the dead men,
the censors, breathing with relief.

Fragment Eleven

[During the first show, the actors read these quotes under power point that showed who the quotes were from. In the second version, we passed these quotes to the audience on slips of paper during Fragment 2.]

Eugene O’Neill: "Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and will always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot."

Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court Potter Stewart (1915-1985): "Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself."

Thomas Jefferson: "I find the pain of a little censure, even when it is unfounded, is more acute than the pleasure of much praise."

Joseph Henry Jackson: "Did you ever hear anyone say "That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very dangerous to me?"

Dwight David Eisenhower: "As it is an ancient truth that freedom cannot be legislated into existence, so it is no less obvious that freedom cannot be censored into existence."

Dick Cavett: “Censorship feeds the dirty mind more than the four-letter word itself would.”

Jorge Luis Borges: "Censorship is the mother of metaphor."

Alan Ayckbourn: "Censorship is a good thing. Thus every book gets at least one attentive reader."

May West: "I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."

Walt Whitman: “The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book.”

Heinrich Heine: “Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings.”

Theodore Schroeder: “Obscenity is not a quality inherent in a book or picture, but is solely and exclusively a contribution of the reading mind, and hence cannot be defined in terms of the qualities of a book or picture."

Emma Goldman: “It takes less mental effort to condemn than to think.”

Noam Chomsky: “If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all.”

Benjamin Franklin: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

Fragment Twelve

[This final segment was the ending for both show, with slight variations. Primarily it is based on Howard Zinn’s “Passionate Declarations” and “Artists in Times of War.” Other voices enter in at times from sources that are included in the program for the second show that follows.]

Howard Zinn: “Suppose all of the restrictions on freedom of speech were suddenly removed—the Supreme Court’s limitations on the absolute words of the First Amendment, the power of the local police over people wanting to express themselves, the fear of losing one’s job by speaking freely, and the chill on free speech caused by the secret surveillance of citizens by the FBI. Suppose we could say anything we want, without fear. Two problems would still remain.

The first is Okay, suppose we can say what we want—how many people can we reach with our message? The answer is clear: it depends on how much money we have.

Lets say no one can stop us from getting up on a soapbox and speaking our mind. We might reach a hundred people that way. But if we were the Proctor and Gamble Company, which made the soapbox, we could buy prime time for commercials on television.

In other words, freedom of speech is not simply a yes or no question. It is also a “how much” question. A poor person, however smart, however eloquent, truly has very limited freedom of speech. A rich corporation has a great deal of it.

The writer A.J. Liebling, who wrote about freedom of the press, put it this way:

Liebling (on soap box): The person who has the freedom of the press is the person who owns one.

Howard Zinn: The second enormous problem for free speech is this: Suppose no one—not government, not the police, not our employer—stops us from speaking our mind, but we have nothing to say. In other words what if we do not have sufficient information about what is happening in the country or in the world and do not know what our: government is doing at home and abroad? Without such information, having the freedom to express ourselves does not mean much.

But, as Noam Chomsky has said...

Chomsky: It is difficult to make a convincing case for manipulation of the press when the victims proved so eager for the experience.

Bryant Gumble (reporting during the First Gulf War): Equally distressing is that, uh, according to polls, 90% of the people don’t seem to be bothered by the fact that the government is censoring the images they’re getting back from the war.

FCC Commissioner Kathleen Q. Abernathy: Any restraint placed on broadcaster’s free speech rights must be a reasonable means to further our public interest goals. The federal court opinions specifically tell me that any restrictions we place on ownership must be based on concrete evidence—not on fear and speculation about hypothetical media monopolies intent on exercising some type of Vulcan mind control. (NY Times, 6-3-03).

Sen. Bill Frist:...the one fact that must be kept in mind is that our government operates in such a way that the common good is no longer the goal. Regulation has become a goal in and of itself. Not only is that dangerous, it is unfair and extraordinarily expensive... (Congressional Record, 7-13-95)

Robert W. McChesney: The claim that the American media is the result of market competition won by a handful of multi-national corporations is one of the Big Lies that media firms desperately propagate. Like a lot of their programming, it’s a load of crap. Our media system is the direct result of government action—laws and regulatory policies—that established not just the playing field but the winners of the game.

John Nichols: The First Amendment belongs to all Americans, not just the billionaire investors in a handful of giant media firms; and it is based on the notion that democracy demands a press that serves us all.

Howard Zinn: In short, the First Amendment without much information is not of much use. And if the media, which are the main source of information for most Americans, are distorting or hiding the truth due to government influences or the influences of the corporations that control them, then the First Amendment has been effectively nullified.

Nevertheless, it would be wrong to say that in the United States we have no freedom of speech, no freedom of the press. There are totalitarian countries all over the world in which one can say that. In the Soviet Union, before Gorbachev’s glasnost policies opened things up, such a flat statement would have been accurate. Here the situation is too complicated for that.

The irony is that it’s exactly in times of war—when you’re dealing with life-and-death matters—that you’re not supposed to speak. So you have freedom of speech for trivial matters, but not for life-and-death matters. That’s a nice working definition of democracy, isn’t it?

We, as citizens, want freedom of expression for two reasons. First, because in itself it is fundamental to human dignity, to being a person, to independence, to self-respect, to being an important part of the world, and to being alive. Second, because we badly need it to help change the world and to bring about peace and justice.

This is exactly when we need the most lively discussion...

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