Persona Non Grata: The Death of Free Speech in the Internet Age

Persona Non Grata: The Death of Free Speech in the Internet Age

by Tom Flanagan
     
 

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From an acclaimed professor and former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a passionate and edgy defense of free speech in Canada, and the role the internet plays in the issue.
     In February 2013, Tom Flanagan, acclaimed academic, University of Calgary professor, and former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen…  See more details below

Overview

 
From an acclaimed professor and former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a passionate and edgy defense of free speech in Canada, and the role the internet plays in the issue.
     In February 2013, Tom Flanagan, acclaimed academic, University of Calgary professor, and former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, made comments surrounding the issue of viewing child pornography that were tweeted from the event he was speaking at and broadcast worldwide. In the time it took to drive from Lethbridge to his home in Calgary, Flanagan's career and reputation were virtually in tatters. Every media outlet made the story front-page news, most of them deriding Flanagan and casting him as a pariah. He was made to apologize publicly for his use of words but the bottom line was that Tom Flanagan simply sounded an opinion (he in no way whatsoever suggested that he was anything but virulantly opposed to child pornography) in an academic setting. In effect, his university, several of his colleagues, and much of the media, including the CBC -- and most of Canada! -- made him persona non grata. This book is two things: The author's side of the story, and what he endured during what he calls "The Incident," and a passionate and convincing defense of free speech, not just in Canada but everywhere. While Flanagan's is hardly the first book on the subject, what makes this book different is the component of the internet, a tool that is very much a double-edged sword when it comes to freedom of expression--it allows people to have an unfiltered voice to say what they want, but it also allows those to use it to be judge, jury and executioner against those whose opinions they disagree with. The book is also a sobering look into the kind of political correctness that has become a staple in the academic world. What happened to the author illustrates important tendencies in contemporary Canada threatening freedom of speech and discussion, and how the new technology is playing an increasing and menacing role.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
   • "A very compelling case about the insidious impact of social media and new technology on public debate, academic freedom and freedom of speech." Toronto Star 

   • "[This is] a settling of scores, a polemic about intellectual freedom, and a firsthand account from the pyre at a public burning. As a work of personal journalism, the book is compelling, even terrifying." Globe and Mail 

   • [Persona Non Grata raises] an important question about the Internet as a venue for conducting the conversations we need to have. Could it be that the Web's global reach, as well as the elaborate and sophisticated forms of social media that come with it, actually stifles freedom of expression rather than promotes it?" The Walrus

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780771030567
Publisher:
McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
Publication date:
04/29/2014
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

TOM FLANAGAN is a professor at the University of Calgary, and was a former advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. American by birth and educated at Notre Dame, Mr. Flanagan has lived in Canada for most of his career. He has won the Donner Prize, and is the author of many acclaimed scholarly studies, especially as they relate to Native issues. He appears regularly in the media, such as the Globe and Mail and the CBC, as a political and academic commentator. The author lives in Calgary.

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