Does Sen. Jesse Helms star in your nightmares? Do you watch the evening new with trepidation, waiting for the newest First Amendment infringement? Are you ready to become an anti-censorship freedom fighter, but don’t know where to turn? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” then Dave Marsh has written the guide for you.
In the course of outlining 50 no-nonsense suggestions for combatting censorship, Marsh attempts to give concerned citizens the information and impetus to take on not only the well-organized and well-funded far-right groups like James Dobson’s Focus on the Family and the Rev. Donald Wildmon’s American Family Association, but also the zealots in local churches or PTAs.
Marsh warns that censorship must be fought wherever it rears its ugly head, and not only where it’s most obvious. “There is no way to separate the censorship of one form of expression from that of any other,” he writes in the book’s introduction. “The attack on [Salman] Rushdie is no more separate from the attack on Luther Campbell than the attack on Robert Mapplethorpe is unrelated to Sen. Alan Simpson’s characterization of CNN reporter Peter Arnett as a ‘traitor’ for reporting what he saw in Baghdad rather than what the generals in Saudi Arabia told him to see.” This conviction leads the author to include the National Organization for Women and the Public Broadcasting System alongside Wildmon and Dobson in his list of censorship groups.
So what can you do? Marsh’s suggestions range from the simple (speaking out, registering to vote, writing to senators and congressmen, buying banned records) to the more involved (starting a grassroots anti-censorship organization, creating a public service announcement, picketing the censors). With this array of activities and options, Marsh’s message is simple: Don’t just get mad about censorship, fight back!
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