In this blistering polemic, veteran journalist Mick Hume presents an uncompromising defence of freedom of expression, which he argues is threatened in the West not by jackbooted censorship but by a creeping culture of conformism and you-can't-say-that.
The cold-blooded murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in January 2015 brought a deadly focus to the issue of free speech. Leaders of the free-thinking world united in condemning the killings, proclaiming ‘Je suis Charlie'. But it wasn't long before many commentators were arguing that the massacre showed the need to apply limits to free speech and to restrict the right to be offensive.
It has become fashionable not only to declare yourself offended by what somebody else says, but to use the ‘offence card' to demand that they be prevented from saying it. Social media websites such as Twitter have become the scene of ‘twitch hunts' where online mobs hunt down trolls and other heretics who express the ‘wrong' opinion. And trigger warnings and other measures to ‘protect' sensitive students from potentially offensive material have spread from American universities across the Atlantic and the Internet.
Hume argues that without freedom of expression, our other liberties would not be possible. Against the background of the historic fight for free speech, Trigger Warning identifies the new threats facing it today and spells out how unfettered freedom of expression, despite the pain and the problems it entails, remains the most important liberty of all.
©2015 Mike Hume (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited
"This is an important book, and couldn't be more timely. It's strong-minded, unafraid, determined to knock down all the various specious arguments against free speech, unapologetic about insisting on the value of free expression, and terrifically well argued. In these weak-minded times it's good to have so uncompromising a defence." (Salman Rushdie)
Think that our enlightened and open-minded society has put us past the days of censorship and a golden age of free speech is upon us? Two words: THINK AGAIN. In this revealing work, Mick Hume puts the spotlight on today's issues that effect free speech. Covering the history of free speech and the modern day institutional attacks in the universities, entertainment, sports, and the perceived liberator of ideas known as the World Wide Web, Hume examines how excuses such as "trolling" and "obnoxious sports conduct" are nothing short of similarities to more historical excuses. Furthermore, Hume devotes entire chapters to debunking the overlooked but pathetic and childish blanket excuses for censorship such as the "you can't yell fire in a crowded theater" or even "we cannot be tolerant to intolerance". It is essential that Free Speech must be maximized, if it is to be for all. That means facing the difficult truth, that this fragile freedom is for the idiot and the intellectual alike. Whether you're Ted Nugent or Natalie Maines, Lisa Simpson or Eric Cartman, Glenn Beck or Glenn Greenwald, the marketplace of ideas must be preserved.
Technophile, science geek, music lover. Works for a community bank that puts its profits back into local community agreed projects.
I can't agree with some of the author's over simplifications - he might be writing this way for effect! For the most part an entertaining if sometimes slightly confused case for extreme freedom of speech.
Whilst he is not very fussy about getting some historical facts correct, I'll defend to the death (preferably his) the author's right to be wrong!
Marvellously rambunctious narration but.
everyone needs to read this book. there is a lot going on in our world today that people don't understand. we take for granted things like free speech, until it's gone.
I agree with the point of the whole thing, but I felt as if it was longer than it needed to be. Every chapter seemed to make the same point in the same way. But I liked it
"Taught me a new perspective"
I really thought the narrator was excellent.
I assumed this book may be a bit of an echo chamber for me as I am already quite interested in this type of thing. The last part about the media totally changed my perspective on, well, the media!
"preaching to the choir"
A very one sided reflection of recent events, framed around the response to Charlie Hebdo incident. Its a lengthy opinion piece which would be recommended to anyone with social libertarian views, however I suspect that his core readers won't learn much new from the book that they haven't already learned from Mick Humes various columns, especially his work on Spiked. It is nice to have my beliefs reinforced, however it does feel a little shallow
I had a bit of a warning sign when i heard the phrase "when i started writing this book late last year" and i think the six month schedule might have been too short. The book relies quite heavily on filler (often the historical context was repetitive and felt laborious) plus the constant reference to people as "Reverse Voltaires" just sounded bitter... However the whole experience was pleasant enough
I think interviewing the "Reverse Voltaires" would have been very interesting, asking the people he perceived as enemies of free speech some difficult questions would have dug deeper into the issue
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