WHEN Rep. Don Young of Alaska complained about the...

salmagundi

May 11, 1995

WHEN Rep. Don Young of Alaska complained about the offensiveness of artwork funded by the National Endowment for the Arts he may have expected to be accused of censorship.

He certainly didn't think he'd be the victim of it.

That, however, is exactly what happened at a high school where Representative Young was invited to speak. When asked to describe the graphic pictures he was referring to, Mr. Young did so -- graphically.

In what he later called an effort to "educate" the high school students, Mr. Young used an obscene slang term for the anal intercourse depicted in the artwork.

Representative Young yelled at his teen-age audience, "You think that's art?"

They should have yelled back, "You think that's free speech?"

By the time the students left school that day, they'd gotten a little more "education" than their parents had ever intended.

The real question is, did Mr. Young? He apologized, very politely, for what he called his "unacceptable" language. But does he understand the difference between free speech and using obscenity to make a point to a bunch of high school kids?

Since this man is one of our nation's leaders, we can only hope.

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