This Morning's Rant Courtesy of Judy Blume

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I heard the remarkably vacuous remarks of the recipient of National Book Award distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters. "I never dreamed my books would be the object of censorship."

How idiotic, how robotic, can one set of remarks get? Judy Blume has never been censored. No government agency has ever prevented the pressing of ink to paper in her name (though heaven knows, arts and letters would be better off had one done so.) Judy Blume has been the object of boycotts. Well-deserved completely self-earned boycotts. It is the solemn responsibility of all parent to carefully patrol and circumscribe the reading of their children. It is a necessary function of protecting childhood innocence and of nurturing one's child with the appropriate set of values and ideals.

Censorship is a government prohibition of the distribution of material. And don't get me wrong, I am not at all certain that I oppose all censorship. I don't think the news should be able to report details of murders or lavish loving attention of the lives of serial killers while said serial killers are fighting their convictions. Censorship comes from a government agency with the power to repress--and I do think that some "expressions" are imminently worthy of repression. The problem becomes, of course, who decides what those might be--but that's an argument for another day.

Judy Blume's books have been taken off the shelf because she is a substandard hack writer (some of her very early works are pretty good) who peddles adolescent smut under the guise of talking about "real issues of the day." Parent have told schools to remove these books from the library. It is not the school that has taken it upon itself to remove the works--but the pressure of boycotts. This is not censorship--this is the free market in action. If your ideas are repugnant to the free market, then expect that they will be rejected. Go get yourself published by a vanity press and stand on the street corners distributing your work. It isn't censorship.

Nor is the rejection of sacrilege, blasphemy, and other sundry invasions of personal space perpetrated by talentless people whose sole ambition is to produce enough "shock" to make their half-brained "works-of-art" worth purchasing.

Let's get it straight--censorship stems from authority. If a press refuses to print your book because it won't sell, if people refuse to buy it and even protest it because it is trash--that is not censorship. If the government says that it may not be printed--you've been censored and under our current federal guidelines you have a right to complain.

But I've said it more the once and will say it again in the future. Any person may have the right to freedom of expression (whatever that means) under our constitution. No one has a right to an audience

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Well said. Following Blume's logic the fact many blogs don't link to mine must mean I'm a victim of censorship.

During the annual "banned books week" or whatever it is, there is always a big display at my local 1/2 Price Books, with all the books in cages, etc. This year there was a big sign that said CENSORSHIP pasted across the front of the cage.

I should have stopped by the desk, acted amazed and said, "You mean the GOVERNMENT kept these books from being printed??????"

I am quite sure they would have looked at me like I had lost my mind.

I think I'll try it next year!



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 18, 2004 7:33 AM.

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