Soley's speech arguments hypocritical
I hope that the video Truth or Consequences: Safer Sex at MIT will not only teach the community about safer sex, but will also teach the community, and especially Jill B. Soley '92, about free speech on campus.
Last year, Soley wrote a letter to The Tech supporting censorship of speech that she felt
was hurtful. Now she has co-produced this video, that could be held by some jurisdictions to be illegal to make or to show. If anyone on this campus feels that the video "creates an intimidating or . . . offensive . . . environment," then under the current absurd MIT Harassment Policy, which she apparently supports, she has acted improperly and is subject to punishment.
Soley is now on the other side of the fence. Although she feels that her film is different, and therefore acceptable speech, she has followed the classic reasoning of all censors: "Stopping my speech is censorship, while stopping others' is proper." This current hot issue is often subjective or vague, as are terms such as "pornography," "blasphemy," "communist sympathy," or "offensiveness." These types of items allow whichever group is in power to censor whatever it feels is appropriate.
Many people have judged this video without seeing it. Of course, that is again typical of censors.
Soley has decided that her film is acceptable, while other films that she does not like, and may never have seen, are not. She would be surprised to learn that some people would call her film pornographic, but in this case
she is in the majority, so she is happy. The dangers of censorship come from drawing these types of lines.
According to The Tech, Associate Dean for Residence and Campus Activities James R. Tewhey is not sure the film is acceptable to be shown ["Explicit safe sex video will be shown at Bexley," Sept. 6]. He is worried about parental reactions, and will use that to help decide whether to show the video. No one should have the power to decide what we may see and hear on campus. The idea of parents' opinions influencing those decisions, and Tewhey interpreting and enforcing them, is extremely offensive.
Some speech is hurtful and offensive, but all speech must
be protected, not only neutral, bland or "politically correct" speech. If our parents, or the administration, or senators such as Jesse Helms, are given the power to decide what is "bad," they will not reach the same conclusions as Soley or myself. In a free society, and especially on a college campus, the only answer is to stop all censorship, and to allow all ideas to be expressed. We are all mature enough to decide for ourselves which ideas we wish to view, to hold, to express or to challenge.
Safe sex is an important issue. I hope that anyone who wishes to will be allowed to see this film, and any other film that they desire, on this campus. I would
be glad to help Soley preserve and express her First Amendment rights in any way possible.
Adam Dershowitz G->