I'm in Philadelphia visiting Rachel's family, and therefore offer just a few links -- from the Times, which I'm reading online rather than wrap around me in customary fashion. Both are, however, appropriate to my free-speech week.
There's the brave gay student in a Missouri high school where free speech normally, it seems, consists of pseudo-Christian, anti-gay slogans on student T-shirts. Brave because he'd refused twice to be intimidated by school officials claiming "Gay and Proud" an offensive slogan. (One of the T-shirts was from a Gay-Straight Alliance in his previous school in Arkansas.</i>. Bill Clinton aside, I confess to being startled that Arkansas was the model for tolerance.)
Then there's the always lucid Frank Rich's deconstruction of the brouhaha over the Nicolette Sheridan TV ad on Monday Night Football. I recommend the piece, "The Great Indecency Hoax," in its entirety, especially for its revealing the manipulative hand of the American Family Association in the "controversy." But I was particularly struck by this:
Again as in the Jackson case, we are also asked to believe that pro football is what Pat Buchanan calls "the family entertainment, the family sports show" rather than what it actually is: a Boschian jamboree of bumping-and-grinding cheerleaders, erectile-dysfunction pageantry and, as Don Imus puts it, "wife-beating drug addicts slamming the hell out of each other" on the field.