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Faculty Sponsor

Emily Plec

Abstract

This paper examines a speech, "Winning the Cultural War," that Charlton Heston gave to the Harvard University Law Forum in February 1999. Several years into the Democratic policies and gun control measures of the Clinton administration, Heston's Right-leaning speech critiqued the limitation of personal freedom and the national obsession with political correctness.

While on the surface Heston’s speech reads (and probably sounded) inspirational and well-structured, it lacks the depth and clarity to spur long-lasting and specific change. Heston uses his image as an actor and as president of the NRA, as well as anecdotes and attempts at humor, to paint himself as a down-to-earth fatherly or professorial figure. He seems to hope and ask for a specific change, but his speech leaves a lot of room for (mis)interpretation.

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