Today's Outrage Mobs Are Yesterday's Morality Police

Episode 64 March 18, 2021

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America has come a long way in securing the right to free speech outlined in the Constitution: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech.”

In the 1950s, as “pulp fiction” novels rose in popularity ⁠– ⁠short, trashy novels featuring suggestive and risqué content⁠ –⁠ calls for the government to regulate “obscene” content escalated, and the government did just that.

But it took a few brave authors and social critics to risk jail time and ostracization to push the envelope, resulting in crucial wins for free expression and changes to legal definitions of obscenity.

In today’s climate, where freedom of expression remains largely unhampered yet calls for its restriction seem to be increasing, the 50s should serve as a reminder for why we shouldn’t regress in our tolerance of “objectionable” expression.

Written by Jen Maffessanti & Sean W. Malone
Produced by Sean W. Malone
Edited by Paul Nelson
Asst. Edited by Jason Reinhardt


About the Hosts

Sean W. Malone studied music performance and composition for film and multimedia at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Bachelor of Music, 2005) and New York University (Master of Arts, 2007), before working in various creative roles in the music and film industries in New York and Los Angeles.

In 2011, he relocated to Washington, DC to develop professional media production capabilities at various…

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