Speech Stories

Overview

When we talk about what "freedom of speech" means in America, the discussion almost always centers on freedom rather than speech. Taking for granted that speech is an unambiguous and stable category, we move to considering how much freedom speech should enjoy. But, as Randall Bezanson demonstrates in Speech Stories, speech is a much more complicated and dynamic notion than we often assume. In an age of rapidly accelerated changes in discourse combined with new technologies of communication, the boundaries and ...

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Speech Stories: How Free Can Speech Be?

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Overview

When we talk about what "freedom of speech" means in America, the discussion almost always centers on freedom rather than speech. Taking for granted that speech is an unambiguous and stable category, we move to considering how much freedom speech should enjoy. But, as Randall Bezanson demonstrates in Speech Stories, speech is a much more complicated and dynamic notion than we often assume. In an age of rapidly accelerated changes in discourse combined with new technologies of communication, the boundaries and substance of what we traditionally deem speech are being reconfigured in novel and confusing ways.

In order to spark thought, discussion, and debate about these complexities and ambiguities, Bezanson probes the "stories" behind seven controversial free speech cases decided by the Supreme Court. These stories touch upon the most controversial and significant of contemporary first amendment issues: government restrictions on hate speech and obscene and indecent speech; pornography and the subordination of women; the constitutionality of campaign finance reform; and the treatment to be accorded new technologies of communication under the Constitution. The result is a provocative engagement of the reader in thinking about the puzzles and paradoxes of our commitment to free expression.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Drawing from seminars he has given over many years for a wide range of participants in and out of academia, Bezenson (law, U. of Iowa) demonstrates how the freedom of speech rights guaranteed in the First Amendment of the US Constitution have been interpreted and used in seven court cases. The cases concern pornography, religion, political statements, flag burning, campaign literature, advertising pharmaceuticals, and other matters. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814713211
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1998
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.53 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Darwin

Randall Bezanson is Professor of Law at the University of Iowa. His previous books include the award- winning Libel Law and the Press, coauthored with Gilbert Granberg and John Soloski, and his most recent, Taxes on Knowledge in America: Exactions on the Press from Colonial Times to the Present.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      February 12, 1809
    2. Place of Birth:
      Shrewsbury, England
    1. Date of Death:
      April 19, 1882
    2. Place of Death:
      London, England
    1. Education:
      B.A. in Theology, Christ’s College, Cambridge University, 1831

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
I Speakers
Story 1 The Jacket (Cohen v. California) 7
Story 2 The Author (McIntyre v. Ohio Elections Commission) 37
Story 3 The Corporation and the Candidate (Austin v. Michigan State Chamber of Commerce) 59
II Speech and Conduct
Story 4 The Burning Cross (R. A. V. v. St. Paul) 93
Story 5 The Artist: Carnal Knowledge as Art, Pornography as Subordination, and the V-Chip as Family Values (Jenkins v. Georgia) 115
III The Audience
Story 6 The Pharmacist: Speech and Its Consumers (Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council) 155
Story 7 The Burning Flag: The Medium and the Message (Texas v. Johnson) 187
Reminiscences: Reflections on Enduring First Amendment Questions 207
Index 215
About the Author 221
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