Tommy Smothers and the Right to Hear
RS at robertsheridan.com
Wed Oct 22 10:34:53 PDT 2008
During the height of the Vietnam War, in 1968, the year of the police
riot at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, at the beginning of the
Nixon Era of right wing repression (sorry guys), CBS pulled the
Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour off the air, for good, before its fourth
year could begin.
Forty years later Tommy receives his Emmy and gives a thank you
statement which includes:
"Freedom of expression and freedom of speech aren't really important,"
he told the audience, "unless they're heard. The freedom of hearing is
as important as the freedom of speaking. It's hard for me to stay
silent when I keep hearing that peace is only attainable through war.
There's nothing more scary than watching ignorance in action. So I
dedicate this Emmy to all people who feel compelled to speak out, not
afraid to speak to power, won't shut up and refuse to be silent."
He also points out that you don't need government to repress speech
when you have media conglomerates to do it for you.
At any rate, the closing of the show has remained a lesson in First
Amendment undermining all these years.
You can ask who is a greater exponent of FA values, a teacher, or
practitioners, like Tommy and Dick.
Today's S.F. Chronicle (at sfgate.com) features two articles and other
references to the Smothers Brothers.
Here's the link to the lead article which will lead, as well, to the
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