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Thread: Freedom of Speech

  1. #1
    Professional Lurker Herc's Avatar
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    Freedom of Speech

    A long but interesting read.

    Countering a Wave of Hate
    >
    > By Tim Robbins
    > April 17, 2003
    >
    > Transcript of the speech given by actor Tim Robbins to the National
    > Press Club in Washington, D.C., on April 15, 2003.
    >
    >
    > I had originally been asked here to talk about the war and our current
    > political situation but I have instead chosen to hijack this
    opportunity
    > and talk about baseball and show business. Just kidding. Sort of.
    >
    >
    > I can't tell you how moved I have been at the overwhelming support I
    > have received from newspapers throughout the country these past few
    > days. I hold no illusions that all of these journalists agree with me
    on
    > my views against the war. While the journalist's outrage at the
    > cancellation of our appearance in Cooperstown is not about my views;
    it
    > is about my right to express these views. I am extremely grateful that
    > there are those of you out there still with a fierce belief in
    > constitutionally guaranteed rights. We need you the press, now more
    than
    > ever. This is a crucial moment for all of us.
    >
    >
    > For all the ugliness and tragedy of 9-11 there was a brief period
    > afterwards where I held a great hope. In the midst of the tears and
    > shocked faces of New Yorkers, in the midst of the lethal air we
    breathed
    > as we worked at Ground Zero, in the midst of my children's terror at
    > being so close to this crime against humanity, in the midst of all of
    > this I held onto a glimmer of hope in the naive assumption that
    > something good could come out of all this. I imagined our leaders
    > seizing upon this moment of unity in America, this moment when no one
    > wanted to talk about Democrat vs. Republican, white vs. black or any
    of
    > the other ridiculous divisions that dominate our public discourse.
    >
    >
    > I imagined our leaders going on television, telling the citizens that
    > although we all want to be at Ground Zero we can't. But there is work
    > that is needed to be done all over America. Our help is needed at
    > community centers, to tutor children, to teach them to read, our work
    is
    > needed at old age homes to visit the lonely and infirmed, in gutted
    > neighborhoods to rebuild housing and clean up parks, and convert
    > abandoned lots into baseball fields.
    >
    >
    > I imagined leadership that would take this incredible energy, this
    > generosity of spirit, and create a new unity in America born out of
    the
    > chaos and tragedy of 9-11. A new unity that would send a message to
    > terrorists everywhere: If you attack us we will become stronger,
    > cleaner, better educated, more unified. You will strengthen our
    > commitment to justice and democracy by your inhumane attacks on us.
    Like
    > a phoenix out of the fire we will be re-born.
    >
    >
    > And then came the speech. "You are either with us or against us" And
    the
    >
    >
    > bombing began. And the old paradigm was restored as our leader
    > encouraged us to show our patriotism by shopping and by volunteering
    to
    > join groups that would turn in their neighbor for any suspicious
    > behavior.
    >
    >
    > In the 19 months since 9-11 we have seen our democracy compromised by
    >
    > fear and hatred. Basic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity
    of
    > the home have been quickly compromised in a climate of fear. A unified
    > American public has grown bitterly divided and a world population that
    > had profound sympathy and support for us has grown contemptuous and
    > distrustful, viewing us as we once viewed the Soviet Union, as a rogue
    > state.
    >
    >
    > This past weekend Susan and I and the three kids went to Florida for a
    > family
    >
    > re-union of sorts. Amidst the alcohol and the dancing and the
    > sugar-rushing children there was, of course talk of the war. The most
    > frightening thing about the weekend was the amount of times we were
    > thanked for speaking out against the war because that individual
    > speaking thought it unsafe to do so in their own community in their
    own
    > life. "Keep talking. I haven't been able to open my mouth."
    >
    >
    > A relative tells me that a history teacher tells his 11-year-old son,
    my
    >
    >
    > nephew, that Susan Sarandon is endangering the troops by her
    opposition
    > to the
    >
    > war. Another teacher in a different school asks our niece if we were
    > coming to the school play. "They're not welcome here," said the molder
    > of young minds.
    >
    >
    > Another relative tells me of a school board decision to cancel a
    civics
    > event that was proposing to have a moment of silence for those who
    have
    > died in the war because the students were including dead Iraqi
    civilians
    > in their silent prayer. A teacher in another nephew's school is fired
    > for wearing a t-shirt with a peace sign on it. And a friend of the
    > family tells of listening to the radio down south as the talk radio
    host
    > calls for the murder of a prominent anti-war activist.
    >
    >
    > Death threats have appeared on other prominent peaceniks doorsteps for
    > their views against the war. Realtives of ours have received
    threatening
    > e-mails and phone calls. My 13-year-old boy, who has done nothing to
    > anybody, has been embarrassed and humiliated by a sadistic creep who
    > writes, or rather, scratches, his column with his fingers in the dirt.
    >
    >
    > Susan and I have been listed as traitors, as supporters of Saddam, and
    > various other epithets by the Aussie gossip rags masquerading as
    > newspapers and by their "fair and balanced" electronic media cousins,
    > 19th Century Fox. Apologies to Gore Vidal. Two weeks ago, the United
    Way
    > cancelled Susan's appearance at a conference on women's leadership and
    > both of us last week were told that both we and the 1st Amendment were
    > not welcome at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
    >
    >
    > A famous rock and roller called me last week to thank me for speaking
    > out against the war only to go on to tell me that he could not speak
    > himself because he fears repercussions from Clear Channel. "They
    promote
    > our concert appearances," he said. "They own most of the stations that
    > play our music. I can't come out against this war." And here in
    > Washington, [veteran White House correspondent] Helen Thomas finds
    > herself banished to the back of the room and uncalled on after asking
    > Ari Fleisher whether our showing prisoners of war at Guantanamo Bay on
    > television violated the Geneva Convention.
    >
    >
    > A chill wind is blowing in this nation. A message is being sent
    through
    > the White House and its allies in talk radio and Clear Channel and
    > Cooperstown. "If you oppose this administration there can and will be
    > ramifications." Every day the airwaves are filled with warnings,
    veiled
    > and unveiled threats, spewed invective and hatred directed at any
    voice
    > of dissent. And the public, like so many relatives and friends that I
    > saw this weekend, sit in mute opposition and in fear.
    >
    >
    > I'm sick of hearing about Hollywood being against the war. Hollywood's
    > heavy hitters, the real power brokers and cover of the magazine stars
    > have been largely silent on this issue. But Hollywood, the concept,
    has
    > always been a popular target.
    >
    >
    > I remember when the Columbine high school shootings happened,
    President
    > Clinton criticized Hollywood for contributing to this terrible
    tragedy.
    > This as we were dropping bombs over Kosovo. Could the violent actions
    of
    > our leaders contribute somewhat to the violent fantasies our teenagers
    > are having? Or is it all just Hollywood and rock and roll?
    >
    >
    > I remember reading at the time that one of the shooters had tried to
    > enlist to fight the real war a week before he acted out his war in
    real
    > life at Columbine. I talked about this in the press at the time and
    > curiously no one accused me of being unpatriotic for criticizing
    > Clinton. In fact, the same talk-radio patriots that call us traitors
    > today engaged in daily personal attacks on their president during the
    > war in Kosovo.
    >
    >
    > Today, prominent politicians who have decried violence in movies, (the
    > blame-Hollywooders if you will), recently voted to give our current
    > president the power to unleash real violence in our current war. They
    > want us to stop the fictional violence but are OK with the real kind.
    > And these same people that tolerate the real violence of war don't
    want
    > to see the result of it on the nightly news. Unlike the rest of the
    > world, our news coverage of this war remains sanitized, without a
    > glimpse of the blood and gore inflicted upon our soldiers or the women
    > and children in Iraq. Violence as a concept, an abstraction.
    >
    >
    > It's very strange. As we applaud the hard-edged realism of the opening
    > battle scene of Saving Private Ryan, we cringe at the thought of
    seeing
    > the same on the nightly news. We are told it would be pornographic. We
    > want no part of reality in real life. We demand that war be
    > painstakingly realized on the screen but that war remain imagined and
    > conceptualized in real life.
    >
    >
    > And in the midst of all this madness, where is the political
    opposition?
    > Where have all the Democrats gone? Long time passing, long time ago?
    > With apologies to Robert Byrd, I have to say it is pretty embarrassing
    > to live in a country where a five-foot-one comedian has more guts than
    > most politicians. We need leaders, not pragmatists that cower before
    the
    > spin zones of former entertainment journalists. We need leaders who
    > understand the Constitution - Congressmen who don't, in a moment of
    > fear, abdicate their most important power, the right to declare war,
    to
    > the executive branch. And please, can we stop the Congressional
    > sing-a-longs?
    >
    >
    > In this time when a citizenry applauds the liberation of a country as
    it
    > lives in fear of its own freedom, when an administration official
    > releases an attack ad questioning the patriotism of a legless Vietnam
    > veteran running for Congress, when people all over the country fear
    > reprisal if they use their right to free speech, it is time to get
    > angry. It is time to get fierce. It doesn't take much to shift the
    tide.
    > My 11-year-old nephew, mentioned earlier, a shy kid who never talks in
    > class, stood up to his history teacher who was questioning Susan's
    > patriotism.
    >
    >
    > "That's my aunt you're talking about. Stop it!" and the stunned
    teacher
    > backtracked and began stammering compliments in embarrassment.
    >
    >
    > Sports writers across the country reacted with such overwhelming fury
    at
    > the Hall of Fame that the president of the Hall admitted he made a
    > mistake and Major League Baseball disavowed any connection to the
    > actions of the Hall's president. A bully can be stopped. So can a mob.
    > It takes one person with the courage and a resolute voice. The
    > journalists in this country can battle back at those who would
    re-write
    > our Constitution in the PATRIOT Act II or Patriot, the sequel, as we
    > would call it in Hollywood. We are counting on you to star in that
    > movie.
    >
    >
    > Journalists can insist that they not be used as publicists by this
    > administration. The next White House correspondent to be called on by
    > Ari Fleischer should defer their question to the back of the room to
    the
    > banished journalist de jour. Any instance of intimidation to free
    speech
    > should be battled against. Any acquiescence to intimidation at this
    > point will only lead to more intimidation. You have, whether you like
    it
    > or not, an awesome responsibility and an awesome power. The fate of
    > discourse, the health of this republic is in your hands, whether you
    > write on the left or the right.
    >
    >
    > This is your time and the destiny you have chosen. We lay the
    > continuance of our democracy on your desks and count on your pens to
    be
    > mightier. Millions are watching and waiting in mute frustration and
    > hope. Hoping for someone to defend the spirit and letter of our
    > Constitution and to defy the intimidation that is visited upon us
    daily
    > in the name of national security and warped notions of patriotism.
    >
    >
    > Our ability to disagree, and our inherent right to question our
    leaders
    > and criticize their actions define who we are. To allow those rights
    to
    > be taken away out of fear, to punish people for their beliefs, to
    limit
    > access in the news media to differing opinions is to acknowledge our
    > democracy's defeat.
    >
    >
    > These are challenging times. There is a wave of hate that seeks to
    > divide us, right and left, pro-war and anti-war. In the name of my
    > 11-year-old nephew and all the other unreported victims of this
    hostile
    > and unproductive environment of fear, let us try to find our common
    > ground. Let us celebrate this grand and glorious experiment that has
    > survived for 227 years. To do so we must honor and fight vigilantly
    for
    > the things that unite us. Like freedom, the first amendment and, yes,
    > baseball.
    Three people can keep a secret so long as two of them are dead

    - Benjamin Franklin

  2. #2
    Pot-bellied bean pole Big & Tall's Avatar
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    That is an excellent speech. Whether or not one opposes the war, I think it is absolutely essential to realize the fact that the Bill of Rights has basically been lit aflame and had its ashes **** on since 9-11. (I'm particularly reminded of the FBI questioning EVERYONE of Iraqi descent and Congress slipping through a basic elimination of search, seizure and privacy rights on suspicion of "terrorist activities.") It is also important to see through the political and media **** storm that has come out of all this. Sadly, I think very few people question what reported to them in mass media. It is an abuse of trust and power with specific political ends and is very destructive to this country. The worst part is that it is intentional. Those with political and media power realize that most people are sheep, incapable of thinking critically and they are using that knowledge to its fullest advantage for acheiving their own goals, which do not neccessarily represent those of the country.

    Anyway, I could go on, but that's enough for now. I'm not saying I oppose(d) the war, but I do oppose being lied to and having my personal freedoms trampled.
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  3. #3
    Simplistic
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    Isn't this the same peace loving guy who threatened to beat up a Wall Street Journal reporter?

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    Senior Member Fightin Irish's Avatar
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    Susan Sarandon is the Jane Fonda of this war.... I think its disgraceful, and I find it low to think that someone actually was scared to speak out against hte war... Somehow I seriously doubt it
    While we may not be able to control all that happens to us, we can control what happens inside us. -- Ben Franklin

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    Hungry BCC's Avatar
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    "As far as drugs were concerned, all my bodybuilding heroes were on everything but roller skates."


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    Gettin Lean Goin_Big's Avatar
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    Lol, i didn't read it either, gimme a 2 line summary!
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    Hungry BCC's Avatar
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    It's not even worth a 2 line summary lol.
    "As far as drugs were concerned, all my bodybuilding heroes were on everything but roller skates."


    In Memphis, it is illegal for a woman to drive by herself, unless a man is walking or running infront of the vehicle, waving a red flag in order to warn approaching pedestrians and motorists.

  8. #8
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    "Blah blah blah don't hate me for being one of the biggest hypocrites to ever be given air time"

    Gotta love the peaceniks who complain about the threats, the lack of freedom of speech, etc. As if they're not equally bad. Witness "peacenik" behavior to vietnam veterans. This speech is irritating, and I don't even know where to start, because we'll end up re-hashing all the other crap that's already been addressed in other threads. Sanctimonious bullsh*t.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    Great speech. Freedom of speech is being compromised every day.

    My bro in law went in to buy the Bowling for Columbine DVD at blockbuster and they told him the govermnent strong armed the studio into delaying the release.

    Land of the free my a$$
    If the only thing you are holding is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  10. #10
    Banned Berserker's Avatar
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    Hemants-Fuc Micheal Moore he is full of ****. Go to his site. he say he wanted to run for President of the NRA to bring it back to gun safety, sounds good. But he melts down hunting guns? He has a petition requesting walmart to stop selling ammo? He say he grew up shooting guns, but they never had them in the house, its ok if there other peoples guns?
    James Woods was on Leno said he interviewed Charles Heston and humitated cause of his disease.

    I am all for freedom of speech, but you have to live with the ramifications.

    As for the speech to long loses its point. People lose interest when you drone on.

  11. #11
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    before anybody says anything, when I say live with the ramifications I do mean with in reason. Threatening children and such is over the line. But as far as your career suffering and losing public support, that is what people should do to protest celebrities they don't like.

  12. #12
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    Anybody watch the Dixie Chicks interview last night? Iwatched it a bit, that channel was coming best last night.
    I don't find the singer all that convicing and kind of fake. I have no problem her saying what she did. Didn't think sense, saying she was ashmed he was from texas, more appropriate would have been ashamed off what he was doing.

    I though they also didn't take things seriously, saying they should slap us on the wrist and not play our songs for a week.
    I did agree with her saying tractor pulls across cds and stomping cds was a bit out there. Also threats are uncalled for.
    Getting boycotted is the way should be handled, and for the most part was.

  13. #13
    II MrWebb78's Avatar
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    Tim Robbins is gay. im sick of these "celebrities" that think what they have to say is of upmost importance and "needs" to be heard. **** off.
    A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. - Edward Abbey

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  14. #14
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    But the point is that whether or not you agree, they should have the freedom to say it.

    Same thing with Michael Moore. If the studio made a business decision not to release the DVD then fine, but if they were pressured by government then that is complete BS.
    If the only thing you are holding is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  15. #15
    y0 aidano's Avatar
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    Helen Thomas should have been sent to the back years ago, she's a second rater now and enjoyed sitting at the front due to special treatment of her considering all the years she's spent at White House press briefings.
    Last edited by aidano; 04-25-2003 at 05:09 PM.

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  16. #16
    II MrWebb78's Avatar
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    oh i agree they have the right to say whatever they want.

    i just hate people like him that think everyone should listen to them because of who they are and that their way is the only right way


    ****edit: and hes gay
    Last edited by MrWebb78; 04-25-2003 at 03:00 PM.
    A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. - Edward Abbey

    There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable. - Voltaire

    If it can be imagined, it can be done. - Me

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  17. #17
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    Yah, this guy is where it's at.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    If the only thing you are holding is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  18. #18
    Gonnabebig Member
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    Originally posted by hemants
    Yah, this guy is where it's at.
    thats hilarious!! great idea, bad delivery. funny though.

  19. #19
    II MrWebb78's Avatar
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    what do expect, the guy has long hair...


    oh ****....so do i...

    *runs away*
    A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. - Edward Abbey

    There is a wide difference between speaking to deceive, and being silent to be impenetrable. - Voltaire

    If it can be imagined, it can be done. - Me

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  20. #20
    Hungry BCC's Avatar
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    Originally posted by hemants
    But the point is that whether or not you agree, they should have the freedom to say it.
    No one is stopping them from saying it. People just don't want to hear that bull ****.
    "As far as drugs were concerned, all my bodybuilding heroes were on everything but roller skates."


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  21. #21
    Simply Devious Rastaman's Avatar
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    Tim Robbins was the bizomb in Shawshank Redemption. That is all.
    Last edited by Rastaman; 04-25-2003 at 03:36 PM.
    "The only sin which we never forgive in each other is difference of opinion."
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  22. #22
    Spartan Warrior The_Blackstar's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BigChaseyChase


    No one is stopping them from saying it. People just don't want to hear that bull ****.
    Maby some people dont want to hear your bull sh*t either...

  23. #23
    Banned Berserker's Avatar
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    Was bowling for Columbined really delayed by the government, or did people not give a **** about the movie? If Michael Moore wouldn't have made an ass of himself and the emmy/grammies I never would have heard about it.

  24. #24
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    One thing I didn't get about Michael Moore was he said he wanted to run for president of the NRA few years ago but didn't have the time. Actually never had chance against Heston. I think in the movie or something else he did he films/talks about North Country Banks giving out guns. He went and got one and says he is going to melt it down for charity. The bank is a liscensed dealer same as any sport good store. So why is he melting it down? He wanted to run for president of the NRA?

  25. #25
    Never Satisfied.
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    The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorite movies EVER (stars Tim Robbins), but I won't even begin to read half of that speech due to the fact that what he (or any actor) says about anything besides movies/tv means just as much to me as what some illiterate coked up homeless guy has to say.

    I hate the fact that just because actors are "famous" they get to say things and have lots of people hear them. **** them and their opinions. When Tim Robbins comes to my house and hears my opinions, then I will gladly listen to his. Until then, shut your mouth and go make a movie.
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