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upholding tradition
cultural continuity in social attitudes and institutions


    the united states supreme court rejected the so-called communications decency act, upholding a longstanding tradition, the first amendment.

    "As a matter of constitutional tradition, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we presume that governmental regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interfere with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it. The interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship."

    ". . . Regardless of whether the CDA is so vague that it violates the Fifth Amendment, the many ambiguities concerning the scope of its coverage render it problematic for purposes of the First Amendment."

    ". . . indecency has not been defined to exclude works of serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value."

    ". . . the CDA thus presents a greater threat of censoring speech that, in fact, falls outside the statute's scope. Given the vague contours of the coverage of the statute, it unquestionably silences some speakers whose messages would be entitled to constitutional protection. "

    ". . . it interferes with the rights of adults to obtain constitutionally protected speech and effectively 'reduce[s] the adult population . . . to reading only what is fit for children.' "

    it would be nice to report that there is no offensive material on the web.
    it would be nice to report that all parents supervise their children better than any government can.
    it would be nice to report that i'm not surprised at the ruling.
    however, traditionally, i do not lie.

magnificat in d
beauty in the beast


    there's a special moment in silence of the lambs when the main bad guy, lecter, pauses during a double-murder. he stops his violence utterly, withdrawing from a vicious attack to sit and listen when a particular passage of music plays on the stereo in the background. it's a moment of incongruence, a stillness of beauty in the midst of ruthlessness. of course, lecter returns to his little task when the music is over.
    some people may find it disturbing that i can identify strongly with that moment, that i find it the most Truthful incident of the film.
    when i listen to bach's magnificat in d major, i am reminded of the stillness of hannibal lecter. with the first notes of suscepit israel, the outer world retreats for some moments. i have no problems returning from that place, but for those special moments, the serenity of my retreat is not penetrable.
    and to set the record straight, i'm quite content that the work i return to afterwards is writing.

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