After the horrible attack on the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo, everyone from journalists and political cartoonists to politicians and pundits continue to grapple with the boundaries of freedom of expression.
Check out these books to learn more about the history of political cartooning and free speech:
The Art of Controversy
by Victor S. Navasky
A look at what makes cartoons so uniquely positioned to affect our minds and our hearts, by the former editor of The New York Times Magazine and the longtime editor of The Nation.
The New Yorker Book of Political Cartoons
edited by Robert Mankoff
Presents more than one hundred of the best political cartoons to appear in “The New Yorker,” offering humorous looks at politicians, campaigns, speechwriting, and the art of spin. Published in 2000.
The Tyranny of Silence
by Flemming Rose
In 2005 the author, editor of Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, ignited a firestorm when he sanctioned the printing of 12 cartoons representing various artists’ views of the Muslim prophet Muhammad. He then received numerous death threats and the newspaper was attacked by Muslims and non-Muslims for its portrayal of Islam and its followers. Even the UN proclaimed the cartoons to be a human-rights violation. Here, in support of his decision to publish the images, Rose raises provocative questions: Can speech be truly free if people self-censor? Why is it permissible to poke fun at Christians but not Muslims?
Disaster and Resistance: Political Comics
by Seth Tobocman
Outlines pressing social and political struggles at the dawn of the twenty-first century – from post 9-11 New York City to Israel and Palestine, to Iraq and New Orleans.
Faith and Law
edited by Robert F. Cochran, Jr
How religious traditions from Calvinism to Islam view American law.
Surrender: Appeasing Islam, Sacrificing Freedom
by Bruce Bawer
Argues that a combination of fear and political correctness has led politicians, intellectuals, religious leaders, and the media–both in the United States and abroad–to appease radical Islam at the cost of our most cherished values: freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
Freedom for the Thought that We Hate
by Anthony Lewis
Follows the evolution of the American concept of free speech from the First Amendment through modern challenges to free speech, including the dubious beginning of charges of seditious libel for those who challenged the authority of church or state in England and colonial America, and the arduous path to the Constitution and the First Amendment.
Mack brings to life the loud, contentious, and messy process that birthed the United States of America. Along the way, he may knock a Founding Father or two off his pedestal, and readers may discover a few parallels to the chaotic political scene we find ourselves in today.
The Harm in Hate Speech
by Jeremy Waldron
Argues that hate speech should be regulated as part of our commitment to human dignity. Causing offense – by depicting a religious leader as a terrorist in a newspaper cartoon, for example – is not the same as launching a libelous attack on a group’s dignity, and lies outside the reach of law. But defamation of a minority group, through hate speech, undermines a public good that can and should be protected: the basic assurance of inclusion in society for all members.
Speaking Up: The Unintended Cost of Free Speech in Schools
by Anne Proffitt Dupre
Dupre, a former school teacher and current professor of law at the University of Georgia, examines the evolving balance of freedom of speech for Americans vs. the needs for control and orderliness in the education of American children. The fundamental question is, How much freedom of speech do American schoolchildren need?
The Great Dissent
by Thomas Healy
Based on newly discovered letters and memos, this riveting scholarly history of the conservative justice who became a free-speech advocate and established the modern understanding of the First Amendment reconstructs his journey from free-speech skeptic to First Amendment hero.