Before the internet, before television and radio, photography or even the
invention of the printing press, there was the sign. Five hundred, one
thousand, even three thousand years ago, if you wanted to get your message
out, you made a sign.
You made a sign and then put it up in the most public place you could find,
so that as many people as possible would read what you had to say. If you
were smart, you used durable materials and hung it in such a way that other
people couldn't take it down... at least not easily. The advantages of
sign-making over competing mass-mediums of the day (repeating yourself to
everyone who passed by or yelling at large groups) were obvious: a single
sign could be read by many without degrading or diluting its message and it
could be posted anonymously. This last aspect was particularly useful for
messages of a political nature.
Here in the brave new world of 2004 information can be spread through
television, radio, print media and the internet... but think about it, how
many of these outlets are open to you? Sure, anyone can write a book, an
article, or a letter to the editor... you might even get it published,
provided the publisher and/or its parent corporation agrees with what you
have to say. The same holds true for television: anyone can submit an idea
for a news story to their local, national or even international news
outlets. If the powers that be find it compelling or relevant enough, they
will cover it. Provided of course that it's core message centers around
furry little animals and the adorable things they do.
For political speech, pretty much last venue for an individual to
communicate to a mass audience is talk radio. Again there is corporate
censorship via the host, screeners, and the seven second delay, but unlike
print and television media, censorship of call-in shows has to be done on
the fly, and it's actually pretty easy to get past it. See "FUN
with HATE Radio" for more details.
Even in complex times like these though, it's the simplest ideas that work
the best, and for pure, unadulterated free speech to a mass audience, you
really can't beat sticking a sign on the freeway. Using cardboard (free in
the dumpsters behind your local corporate retail outlet - for large sheets
go behind furniture stores,) house paint, duct-tape and coat hangars, I've
made hundreds of signs that have been seen by literally millions of people:
all for a total cost of about forty bucks.
Why do I do
1) It's my
right. Free Speech by
individuals, particularly of a political nature, is what keeps democracy
alive. I have just as much a right to put my signs on the freeway as Clear
Channel does to build billboards. It's not Free Speech if you have to pay
2) It's my
responsibility. As a
citizen of the United States of America, it's my duty to defend my country
against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I do this because I love my
country and the principles of freedom, fairness and equality it was founded
on. I do this because I support our troops and do not want to see their
lives wasted in a war built on lies. I do this, simply put, because I am all
those things that the Limbaughs, Coulters, Hannitys and O'Reillys in this
world say that I'm not: a Patriotic American.
3) It's my
pleasure. Don't let the
simplicity of the concept fool you: Freewayblogging is a lot more than just
randomly sticking signs on the freeway. Pursued to its maximum effect, freewayblogging combines the arts and sciences of rhetoric, painting,
engineering, psychology, physics and sneakiness. I encourage everyone,
whatever their political bent, to try it. Unless, of course, you have
nothing to say.