The Power to Inspire: Comics, Community & The Future of Intellectual Freedom

Devon Verbsky

Charles Brownstein, the Executive Director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, spoke during Banned Books week. Brownstein presented “Intellectual Freedom and the Power to Inspire.” At the end of his presentation, he said “Through the diverse technology we have today, in any fashion, you can model the world that you want to see… Intellectual freedom says that we can imagine and build whatever world we want.” This was one of many quotes and ideas that Brownstein presented during Banned Books week, running from Sept 22 through the 28. He also discussed the history that has led to the issues of Intellectual Freedom that are faced today.

Throughout the presentation held on the 2nd floor of the Robert S. Swanson Library on Tuesday, Sept 24, Brownstein said that all of his work is primarily done under the 1st Amendment. To enforce the point that he was trying to get across, he said, “freedom of expression is the soul of democracy.” He led into his discussion about the struggle behind banned books and what it all takes to ban a book.

Any book that gets banned goes through the process of censorship. An expression of concern, oral complaint, written complaint and public attack are all typical in the route of censoring a book. Common reasons of banning a book typically run along the lines of profanity and offensive language, sex or nudity, violence and horror, drugs and alcohol, politically/socially/racially offensive content or conent offensive to religious beliefs.

He moved on to the evolution of free expression, and what the power to inspire means to the upcoming generation. Brownstein said, “Freedom of Expression is the power to be yourself.”

 “If you have the dedication, you have the power to change the world” said Brownstein closing out his presentation.