Howard Stern And Free Speech This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   Howard Stern and Free Speech

by R. Z., Westwood, MA

In the Bill of Rights the first right afforded to the individual is freedom of speech. Yet, most of the nation has become too afraid to say what they think or to challenge the opinions of others. With "political correctness" sweeping our nation and ruling the political field as well, there is one man brave enough to burp in its way.

With his recently published book, Private Parts (which has quickly climbed to number one on The New York Times bestseller list), the long-haired, somewhere around 40-year-old Howard Stern is more popular than ever. From the lesbian dating game to the on-air fights with his mother, Stern is certainly original and anything but politically correct. His ability to speak whatever he is thinking, no matter how disgusting or perverted, sets him apart from the multitude who bow daily to the politically correct thought police.

During a recent syndicated New York-based broadcast (rebroadcast on WBCN-FM, 104.1 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.), Stern said that many people have told him to free his mind, but he says that he believes his mind is free. He maintains that during his show, he says what he thinks; we all at some time think things which he says, but we would never say them. This does not make them wrong to say.

For example, in Howard's book, he describes his thoughts on the recent L.A. riots after the first Rodney King decision. "There was no political agenda behind that rioting. This is what happens when we raise generations of kids who have never been told to do their homework, never been told to wipe their ... (expletive), never been told anything by their parents. In fact, it's more likely their parents aren't even around. Hey, they saw an opportunity and they went for it. And they blamed everybody else." Howard doesn't tiptoe around the issue, he gets right to it and tells you exactly what he thinks. He says the rioters appeared to treat their looting more as a photo opportunity than anything else.

Stern has been fined over one million dollars by the Federal Communications Commission for airing material that it alleges indecent, denying him his right to free speech. But truth is what Stern throws in your face, or at least what he sees truth to be. And if you don't like it, shut it off.

The single thing that scares people is that, despite Stern's abusive language and rude comments, he actually has some on-target political commentary. Stern is not the only one in the media exploring sensitive subjects. Stern says in his book, "Everyone in the media from Donahue to Dr. Ruth to two-bit Stern imitators was doing stuff just as, if not more, risqu" than what I was doing." He continues, "There are thousands of broadcasters talking about sex every day. In fact, there are thousands of people having sex, but out of all those people, when I talk about sex, people get nuts." We have to ask the question: Why has the FCC fined this innocent man? He is simply expressing his ideas.

We as Americans are always forcing others into the mainstream, forcing them to do as we do and say as we say. When Stern looks at life, he tells what he thinks; he doesn't try to hedge his bets like many politicians do, or try to please everyone. Underneath his childish banter and abusive language, he shows us all that we can't let the people or government dictate what we think. If we do, we will be trapped in injustice, injustice similar to the FCC's attempt to silence Stern.

In this era of "politically correct" speech, many people are frequently attacked for what they say, even though they have the right to say it. This is not in keeping with the rights afforded to individuals by our Constitution. When people are not allowed to express their ideas, they are denied their individuality; individuality that has made our country strong and prosperous. When others infringe on the right of the individual to free speech, the individual can be made powerless and the strength of the Constitution of the United States is weakened. Those who infringe on Stern's right to free speech do it at every American's expense. Although I do not always agree with what Stern has to say, I defend his right to say it.

New York mayor Ed Koch, who best sums up the Federal Communication Commission's action against Stern in Private Parts, says, "For the FCC to try to limit or turn you [Stern] off is an outrage. It is more than abuse of power. It is hypocrisy at its worst."


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback