Mother Teresa, Frank Zappa . . . and Ted Pease? Only on a calendar
By the USU Communication Department
LOGAN - What do President Dwight D. Eisenhower, author Theodore Dreiser, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, author Lillian Hellman, actress/singer Vanessa Williams, USU Professor Ted Pease, Mother Teresa, rocker Frank Zappa and 18th century writer Alexis de Toqueville have in common in the Year 2000?
Wait a minute - was that a Utah State University professor in that list?
Yes it was. The list is the 365 contributors to the Year 2000 edition of the First Amendment Calendar, produced by the Freedom Forum, a Washington-based media foundation. And USU Communication Department Head Ted Pease is one of the designated wise men of 2000.
"Well, I don't know how wise I am," Pease said, "but it's humbling to be part of this company --Mark Twain, Nelson Mandela, Lillian Hellman, Albert Camus, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and E.B. White."
For 10 years, the Freedom Forum has released a desk calendar featuring quotes about free expression on each day's page. If you look at the entry for March 13, 2000, you'll find Pease sandwiched between sociologist Charles Horton Cooley and painter Salvador Dali, just two pages away from CBS News anchor Dan Rather and filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. This is the second time one of Pease's statements on free expression has made the Freedom Forum calendar roster.
The desk calendar, popular with media professionals and educators, features short daily sayings on the Freedom Forum's theme - "Free Press, Free Speech, Free Spirit" - quoted from current and historical figures.
Not all 365 sources are all that inspirational, Pease said. "Matt Drudge [the Internet gossip], Adolf Hitler, and [Hustler magazine publisher] Larry Flynt aren't exactly good company -- I"m hoping my quote isn't part of their category," he said. "But all these people had provocative things to say about free expression."
The calendar quotes an opinion column by Pease, which the USU professor wrote for the Logan, Utah, Herald-Journal from 1995 until last summer.
"It came out right after the Columbine High School shootings, and was about cynical politicians trying for a quick fix to 'protect' us from our own televisions," Pease explained. "Politicians want to blame social problems on TV and movies while the real problems go unaddressed. Would stricter TV rules have stopped Columbine? I don't think so."
The quote picked for the 2000 Freedom Forum calendar appeared in Pease's May 23, 1999, column: "The president proposes a Hollywood exorcism to cure the ills of society, convening representatives of the movie and other entertainment industries to meet with the morality police in a pop-culture witch hunt."
The Freedom Forum is the nation's largest philanthropic foundation dedicated to mass media and free expression issues. Based in Arlington, Va., with other centers in New York, San Francisco, Hong Kong and Nashville, Tenn., the foundation sponsors a variety of educational programs.
The calendar is "our way of reminding folks that the First Amendment provides a freedom that we use every day," said Freedom Forum Chairman Charles Overby. "We hope these quotes inspire and encourage those who recognize what a vital role the First Amendment plays in the lives of this nation and its people."