Thursday, February 15, 2007

Franklin's Heartfelt Apology

In Benjamin Franklin's 1931 article (Apology For Printers) from his newspaper the Pennsylvania Gazette he writes:
"Being frequently censur'd and condemn'd by different persons for printing
things which they say ought not to be printed, I have sometimes thought it might
be necessary to make a standing Apology for my self, and to publish it once a
year, to be read upon all occasions of that nature."

While reading the article there is a slight sense of sarcasm upon Franklin's 'apology', due to the generalization and the 'once a year' posting. It seemed as though he was mocking the people who were angry with him because of his opinions in writings printed. Later in the article, he went on to explain his reasoning behind printing his opinions and almost attempted to convince the readers. Now, in the 21st century, the mere thought of a writer apologizing to people and feeling compelled to explain themselves to unsatisfied opposers is almost unheard of. With freedom of the press, which Franklin didn't have, there is usually no longer a need to apologize for your thoughts. There are obviously exceptions in which it is necessary for public explanation and concession when someone is truly offensive and purposely hurtful, however the majority of opinions need no explanation.


At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

your hyperlinks don't work. Two http's!

At 10:30 PM, Blogger A. Mattson said...

True, the hyperlinks still don't work. A decent post.

You may be correct. Franklin does seem to be a bit condescending here. In his day, it was not uncommon for printers to be attacked for the opinions they published, even if they were not their own. What should be the printer's liablity for controversial content? Is there an argument for freedom of the press here? Is it convincing?


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