FREEDOM OF SPEECH
PEN ANDPARCHMENT THINKING" IN ANELECTRONIC ENVIRONMENT
This article deals with the reality underlying a popular American myth-the myth that freedom of speech and of the press exist in this country.
con-tend that they do not exist, but are cleverly scripted into contemporary folkmythology; freedom of speech is a media illusion. Extensive research into cen-sorship and mass media controls, into the "language" of sexual pornography,and into the impact of that language upon women, children, and men hasforced me to reach this unequivocal conclusion. The following discussion doesnot concern itself with an evaluation of the pornographic language; that evalua-tion must be postponed for another time. This discussion instead focuses uponthe manipulation of communication and persuasion in modern society; the con-trol of ideas and expression by the "Fourth Estate" in the service of the cor-porate oligarchy.
suggest that this control has become so powerful as to con-stitute censorship;
suggest that this control has become so powerful thatfreedom of speech and of the press have been consumed by it, and now onlyexist as
of our contemporary mythology. With regard to pornography,
maintain that distorted and injurious images of women and children are com-monly exploited to suit the private purposes of those corporate interestscontrolling the mass media.
assert, moreover, that a pornographic environ-ment by its very nature is undemocratic and antidemocratic and a threat to freespeech and to humane survival.Before we can begin to understand the freedom of speech mythology, wefirst must understand the meaning of the words "freedom of speech." Twenty-three centuries ago, Aristotle defined "speech" both as the spoken symbolsthat characterize mental experience and as print, which symbolizes speech.'
defines "freedom" as "the ability to act, use,etc., without hindrance; ease of movement; exemption from a specified obliga-