A Diamond in the Rough

Posted on September 8, 2011

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So perhaps this is not the most critically-orientated blog that I might ever post, but a blog’s a blog and, in my opinion, a blog is about presenting one’s opinion/perspective/view of something, be it an issue, a take on life, or simply their experiences as they happen. Granted I am going to keep things in the publication/design area, but I’d rather drag forth issues that concern my passions and interests and sound enthusiastic about it, as opposed to a dry, boring rehashing of the news that each newspaper prints.

So here’s one of my favourite subjects; censorship.

Censorship, and there are no two ways about it, is a form of oppression, either by being selective in who is educated in what and forming a literate elitism of the socially superior, or by withholding literature from the masses entirely to enforce slavery and forced labour. After all, a slave that has known nothing but slavery may never want anything else. Or good Christian children will not want to be anything other than good Christian children, such as the numerous schools that have banned Harry Potter because magic is the devil.

And yet look at the monstrous things people do to one another without wands and magic…

However, we find during these periods of censorship that heroes emerge like diamonds from the rough, and present to the world the cartoonish image of a giant blue benevolent genies. (For the record, Disney took some liberties there as genies, or d’jinn, are hardly benevolent. They can be blue, though.) Such as this shining beauty here, as present in this Yahoo! Answers section http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090305151758AA7dWwd

In the face of school censorship, she has begun to dispense banned books to her fellow students via her locker, effectively running an ‘illegal library’, complete borrowing system, return dates, records and everything sans the Dewy Decimal System, I am sure.

She has titles such as Lord of the Flies, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Paradise Lost (how does that even work? Is it because the Devil’s in it?) and the Qu’ran that are available to her fellow students, many of which will likely only read them because of the fact that they are banned at their school. So, effectively, censoring these books has increased literary appeal to the young and the rebellious. Well done school faculty!

She also has novels like The Bridge to Terabithia, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, His Dark Materials trilogy and Interview with a Vampire, meaning that only does she embrace literary classics, but also contemporary novels of literary worth, making them available to her fellow students.

And if that wasn’t enough to sell her to me, she has prohibited Twilight, yet another banned novel, from her library because she does not want that ‘polluting [her] library’. Legend! Champion!

This woman, in my honest to God opinion, and God Himself knows I have too many of them, is a freaking hero. Not only is she so literarily attuned as to know when censorship is a piece of ****, but she is, through the appeal of the taboo that we all know teenagers are so attracted to, educating her fellow students in literary canon, both classical and contemporary. It’s not that her parents would be mad that she was doing it, or that the school would probably suspend her or worse for it. It is because she does not believe the books are banned for any good reason, and she is using her own locker in some kind of literacy guerrilla warfare on the school faculty.

Good. On. You.

Man, I wish I could give this girl a hug. And chocolates. And flowers. Mmm. Maybe that gives the wrong impression.

Censorship has long since rubbed me the wrong way, and though I acknowledge that some stuff should be monitored, I believe that informed, consenting, mature adults should be allowed to read whatever they want, provided that they do so aware of what they are reading, and do not, you know, proceed to murder, rape and pillage like they did in the good ole days after reading something like Beowulf. But how many people were inspired to rape, pillage and murder after reading the Bible, I wonder?

Oh, that was snide.

It rankles me quite especially that we are within a babysat country, where we must be spoon-fed government-approved drivel, where some unseen, unknown individual gets to decide what we, as discerning adults, are able to read, listen to and view. Perhaps letting in X-rated movies and R-18 rated games isn’t exactly the same as running an illegal literary classics library in your locker, but come on!

Okay. So this is now a rant.

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