'Censornati' Meets Its Match
by Matt Cherry
Cincinnati is notorious for censoring free expression - as photographer Robert
Mapplethorpe and publisher Larry Flynt both learnt to their cost. The local censors
finally met their match when they tried to cancel a meeting of the Free Inquiry Group (FIG.).
The March meeting - organized by the secular humanist group FIG in conjunction with
Campaign against Censorship in the Arts, the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio, and
Stonewall Cincinnati - was due to be held at the Cincinnati Museum Center. When the Center
learned the talk was titled "Defending Pornography" they tried to cancel the
meeting. However, the speaker they were trying to silence was not about to surrender her
right to free speech - she was Nadine Strossen, law professor and national President of
the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The Center
soon realized it was outgunned and agreed to allow the meeting to go ahead.
Calling the city "Censornati," Strossen commented, "cities across the
country are the concerned about pornography but will not go to the lengths that Cincinnati
does." She added "the idea of defending free speech when the speech is being
censored is pretty ironic. Doesn't it speak for itself?"
Matt Cherry is Executive Director of the Council for
Secular Humanism. He may be reached at FICherry@aol.com.