American Voices: Prize-winning Essays on Freedom of Speech, Censorship and Advertising Bans was published by Philip Morris USA in 1987.  From this crappy old book’s Introduction:

In September 1986, an advertisement with a reproduction of the First Amendment appeared in major magazines and newspapers throughout the country. The headline for the ad was “Is Liberty Worth Writing For? Our Founders Thought So. We Think So, Too.” With that premise. We launched the Philip Morris Magazine Essay Competition.

Who knew Philip Morris had a magazine?

There were monetary prizes for the national first through fourth place winners, and for the states and District of Columbia winners ($15,000 national first prize, … $1000 each for state winners). The essays were evaluated by an “independent” panel of seven “distinguished judges”: a Bureau Chief at Time Magazine; President of the National Bar Association; former Press Secretary for Lady Bird Johnson; an NBC Vice President; a Time Magazine Contributing Editor; and a Harvard professor.

Lordy, Lordy, Lordy. The Introduction alone presents at least three or four ideas for commentary, but I’ll save those for another day– I have peppers to deal with still today.

I did not appreciate the essay that was awarded $15,000 as much as the independent panel of distinguished experts did. I found the winning essay tedious.

Skimming though all of the “winners” I learned a lot. Did you know that the Supreme Court of the United States of America decided that casinos in Puerto Rico  cannot advertise in newspapers targeted to native Puerto Ricans?

I think the essay written by Karen A. Olson, of Denver, Colorado is the most timely– having been written 25 years ago.

To be continued… .