For The Times They Are a-Changin - Or Are They?


In case you haven't noticed, protest songs are making a comeback. But the guitar-strumming troubadours of the sixties have been replaced with something a little less grass roots - huge acts like Springsteen and Sheryl Crow are heading the protest charge, and they've got money and technology to bring the message to the masses. The Free Speech Movement began at UC Berkeley in 1964, long before the internet and webcams displaced TV as the quickest way to circulate imagery around mainstream America. Now, 40 years later, the alpha lab at the university where it all began celebrates its anniversary with the unveiling of 'Demonstrate,' a state-of-the art webcamera that viewers can control from the comfort of their own PCs by using it to take pix of UCB's Sproul Plaza and posting the captured images online, while responding to other users‚ contributions in a public forum that takes free speech to a new, visually immediate level. There's no doubt technology has advanced the act of bearing witness, but today's political climate begs the question: has free speech really advanced that far? - Peggy MacKinnon