Sunday, March 12, 2006

This week's column:
Who's on First (Amendment)?

Last week, a new study revealed that only a quarter of Americans can name more than one of the freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. Yes, I know what you're thinking: There's more than one?

And the answer is, yes there are, but the study said that twice as many people could name members of TV's Simpson family than could name two or more of those freedoms. Which, granted, isn't an especially fair comparison, given that "The Simpsons" has been on for so long now that it's impossible not to know them; it's rumored that Woodrow Wilson ended his 1912 debate by telling Taft to eat his shorts.

But it wasn't just the venerable Simpsons that people were more familiar with; the study also said that more people could name the three "American Idol" judges than name three First Amendment rights. (Which is ironic, considering that Simon is actually exercising at least one of those rights every time he tells a contestant that if she'd sung like that 2,000 years ago, people would have stoned her to death.)

For the rest of this week's AT LARGE by Peter Chianca, click here.

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