Chad Cummins English 122Y Mr. Fiorenza Analysis Paper The first essay I chose is “Let’s put pornography back in the closet,” by Susan Brownmiller. I chose this one because I figured analyzing it would not be too difficult after writing about “First Amendment Junkie,” in a previous assignment. Susan Brownmiller’s essay voices her feminist view towards pornographic material. Her claim is that without restriction, the first amendment has allowed women to be publicly perceived as objects. The first amendment gives American citizens the right to free speech, and in Brownmiller’s opinion the nation abuses that right.
Obscenity laws have been in place since the early seventies, but according to Brownmiller, the Court has ruled sexually explicit content not obscene many times throughout history. By her bringing up the Hollywood ten makes readers think that the directors of pornography should also go to jail. Her feminist view is that graphic pornographic content is obscene when it degrades women. Sexual material with educational or objective purpose is fine, as long as there is no dehumanizing or demeaning of women.
Brownmiller’s opinion is that porn turns women into objects, and is advertised in such a way that the public perception of women is that they are just material objects. She thinks material that humiliates women in this way should be restricted, shut away from the public eye. Instead it gets flaunted as it’s been in the past. One example she chooses to fight her case is that if the public perception of women is that they are objects, a rapist might safely think he’s done nothing wrong. She says it makes a rapist feel like he is merely giving into normal urges.
Brownmiller implicitly anticipates many angles for argument in her essay. She goes after the argument one might make that pornography is a form of art. Her opinion is that the porn industry is an unethical professional business using high standards of visual technology. They get away with it now because it is skillfully filmed and edited, to have a good design of artful grace. Another argument she predicts is the opposition made by the Court saying that no one is “compelled to look”. Her opinion is that with porn having the ability to flaunt tself openly to the general public without the filtering of degrading explicit content, it just throws itself in the face of the public. Brownmiller has said one possible solution at least to her would be to get the stuff out of sight. She wants to leave it up to the legislators. Let them be the judge if pornography should be kept out in the public eye. In conclusion, Brownmiller laid out the main points to a big problem in America. The issue of freedom of speech, and if there are any limitations. Using pornography as an example made a very good argument for this topic.
The second essay I chose to analyze is “protecting Freedom of Expression on Campus,” by Derek Bok. I chose this as my second essay because; I assumed it would relate to m more closely due to the fact that I am a college student. In “Protecting Freedom of Expression on the Campus”, the author, Derek Bok shows how expressing yourself falls under the First Amendment, whether it is on a private college campus or public college campus. He further explains that just because it is protected by law does not mean that it is “right, proper, or civil.
Bok goes on to show how censoring freedom of speech would cause people to “test the limits” to gain more attention than is needed and if dealt with in the proper manner. The author starts off with a strong example of Harvard students displaying a confederate flag and swastika. Freedom of expression is a right and should not be used inappropriately. The First Amendment rights have caused much controversy because it allows people to say, act, or feel how they see fit; for example, hanging of a Confederate flag or displaying a swastika in public view.
It is a very hard and intense act; although it is their right to do so. According to the Supreme Court’s ruling, the displaying of these symbols is protected under the First Amendment. Regretfully, people act and react because they are offended by things like this, but it is one of our many freedoms as Americans. Although it cannot be prohibited it should be responded to in such a way they do not feel put down or that they are wrong in expressing themselves, but rather suggest to them that it is hurtful and offensive to others.
We have the right to be offended as others have the right to display or express their own interests. Diverse communities in the United States set certain laws to protect their properties from being vandalized with graffiti and protect them from loud noise; rules of this kind should be evenly upheld in order to not discriminate for or against anybody’s opinions or ideas. If the governing authorities see fit to change the laws to prohibit such expressions, they should be cautious.
Bok says we are faced with the main example of, the conflict between our commitment to free speech and our desire to have a community founded on mutual respect. Bok shows that power of censorship is very dangerous because declaring certain things offensive will create a lot of attention. The stance Bok sticks with throughout the article is clear. He thinks appropriate officials and faculty members should take the lead on education students on what these actions do to others.
He also thinks ignoring the displays would work because students would not have such an urge to put them on. It would be safer than prohibiting them, because all that does is give the violators more of a reason to act out. In conclusion, bringing up the example of the Harvard students displaying confederate flags was a good way to show his main point. The main idea is trying to bring out the difference between free speech and offensive material. This was a good way to bring up a huge problem that our nation is facing in the world today.
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