On this week’s episode, Sonny steps back from Hollywood a bit to look at the broader state of free expression in America and around the world. PEN America’s Summer Lopez joins the show to discuss a range of topics: from the heinous assault on Salman Rushdie in New York to efforts to pressure libraries to remove books across the United States to foreign oppression of writers and thinkers to concerns over the ability of a handful of Internet-based companies to determine what can be expressed. If you enjoyed this episode and want to help get the word out, please share it with a friend.
A brief plug: I am a member of PEN America and have been so (on and off, mostly dependent on remembering to pay my dues) since the group stood up for the journalists killed during the Charlie Hebdo massacre. They do great work to help shine a light on the limits of free expression around the world; a couple years back, I had PEN’s James Tager on the show a couple years back to talk about their report on China’s pernicious influence on Hollywood. You can become a member here. The group is celebrating its centenary; the year-long commemoration includes PEN America @ 100: A Century of Defending the Written Word, an exhibit at the New-York Historical Society through Oct. 9; a daylong public symposiumon Sept. 12 called “Words on Fire” in New York with a lineup of literary stars including Margaret Atwood, Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, Dave Eggers, among others; and Flashpoints, a series of talks on free speech and civil rights in cities nationwide that continues through 2023.
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