Thursday, February 3, 2011
censorship |ˈsensərˌ sh ip|noun
the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts
from the Merriam-Webster dictionary
I was watching American Idol with a friend the other night, something I'd never really watched until this year, and we got into the discussion about how many people didn't win, but went on to have better careers than the winners. This led to a comment from my friend, "When that guy came out of the closet, it hurt his career." To which I replied, "It shouldn't matter what the sexual preference is, it's about performance." This led to a few more comments to which I replied, "You're homophobic." She countered, "No, I'm just prejudiced."
Now, I have to give her credit for realizing what she is and admitting to it. I don't have to agree with her beliefs and she doesn't have to agree with mine, but the topic changed and she made the statement, "I wouldn't want a Muslim or homosexual teaching my kids." To which I replied, "What if the teacher worships the fairies in the backyard?" "Not them either." Whoa. Really? There are people who actually feel this way? Unfortunately, I was a coward and didn't ask this Bible-belt Christian how she would feel about a Jew teaching her children. I just didn't want to find out.
This discussion led to a discussion among a group of friends about "sensitive" subjects in books. I got railed about having the "token homosexual" characters to sell books. First of all, they aren't token characters, it's who they are. Am I happy that the guy I had picked out in my wip to be the LI is more than likely gay? No, I was half in love with him myself. But I found a better LI for her in the long run.
So this discussion, which began very benignly over American Idol winners eventually morphed into a discussion about "questionable books". Some of these women said they wouldn't let their teens read certain books with openly gay characters or other things that they disagree with AND would ask the library to remove them, thereby, pushing their views on others. After reading Deb's post about the Bitch Media list, I was reminded of this conversation. This is one of the places where censorship begins.
Where will it end?
Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire
Books won't stay banned. They won't burn. Ideas won't go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only weapon against bad ideas is better ideas. ~Alfred Whitney Griswold, New York Times, 24 February 1959