Being that we are in an American literature course, a reoccurring theme we've discussed in class includes what it means to be free and have the right to freedom. Everyone knows the US prides itself on Freedom; "it's a free country," "Roosevelt's 5 Freedoms," "free speech," etc.
After watching this short segment from A & E's 25 part series, Biography of the Millennium, which aired in late 1999, it seemed to be a no brainer that Johan Gutenberg was to be chosen to be The Most Influential Person of the Past 1,000 Years. Mind you, this segment was aired nearly 12 years ago, but a few thoughts on this tv clip:
-Kofi Annan, the then Secretary General of the UN, was astounded to know that government news tips were being leaked through the fax machine. I wonder how he feels now...
"The effect of the press on our lives is essential. We can't, as a democracy, live without it. It infuriates us, there's lots of bad press. But I've seen the opposite. I've lived in the Soviet Union in the bad old days. I've seen the effect of the 'non-press' on a people. And if that's the option, then I think that every American would say 'Count me out.'"
This got me to thinking about Americans' ability to express ourselves and how lucky one is to have that freedom. (side note: Facebook is known to be blocked by the government in nearly 27 countries around the world. I don't even want to know what would happen if the US government blocked facebook...) Nonetheless, it is interesting to think of how this idea applies to writing "in a time of terror" when writers grapple with the idea of what exactly it means to be free (is it the ability... as one theorist argues, to be able to be welcome and a home for whoever walks through our doors? to disseminate information and perspectives? to express oneself through writing? or is it something else?)