Free Speeches, by Denis Kitchen, Nadine Strossen, Dave Sim, Neil Gaiman and Frank Miller

Second paragraph of third section of the main essay, Nadine Strossen's address at the International Comics Convention, San Diego, 1996:

The first core principle states what is not a sufficient justification for government restrictions on speech. This principle is "content-neutrality" or "viewpoint-neutrality." It was recently reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in its two decisions striking down laws that criminalized the burning of the U.S. flag.9 In those decisions, the Court described the requirement of content- or viewpoint-neutrality as the "bedrock principle" of our free speech jurisprudence; it is the notion that government may never suppress speech merely because the majority in the community is offended by or disagrees with the content or viewpoint of the speech. That this is indeed a core, central tenet is underscored by the fact that those two decisions were joined not only by the two most liberal Justices at the time — Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall—but also by two of the Court's most conservative members, Justices Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy.
9 See generally U.S. v. Eichman, 496 U.S. 310 (1990); See also Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397 (1989)

Another of the Neil Gaiman Humble Bundle books that I have been working through, this being part of his Comics Legal Defence Fund activism; Strossen's speech on behalf of the ACLU at the San Diego convention is the core, book-ended by much shorter contibrutions from Gaiman and other writers – from Dave Sim before he turned out to be a misogynist, and Frank Miller before he turned out to be a bigot.

It's funny how last-century this all feels; sure, protecting freedom of speech from government interference is still an issue, including in the creative industries (just last week we had another redneck Texan legislator protesting against subversive literature in schools), but it seems to me that the debates we are now having are more often about the use of (legally protected) speech to punch down at the oppressed, and what options are open to the rest of us exercising our rights of freedom of association and freedom of speech to object to creators who choose to do that, while at the same time of course deploring acts or threats of violence by state or non-state actors. As so often, xkcd summed it up well:

This was the shortest book still on my shelves acquired in 2015 and not yet read. Next on that pile is Sweeney Todd, another from the Neil Gaiman Humble Bundle.

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