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Banned Books Week: September 24-30, 2017   You are logged in as Guest
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BarkellWH

Posts: 2773
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

Banned Books Week: September 24-30,... 

Banned Books Week 2017 in the United States runs September 24-30. Banned Books Week celebrates the right to read without the ignorami of the Right and Left censoring books in schools and public libraries. The Right loves to ban books that have sexually explicit content, that call into question the biblical narrative, and that promote evolution, among other things. The Left loves to ban books that are "insensitive" (whatever that means) to minorities, that praise Columbus as a great mariner and discoverer of the New World, and that promote a conservative agenda, among other things.

In the US over the past 50 years or so, there are two books that have been perennial targets of the ignorami: "The Catcher in the Rye," by J.D. Salinger and "Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain. The Right always considered "The Catcher in the Rye" to be inappropriate for its use of "offensive language" and for Holden Caulfield's "anti-social" attitude. It was thus termed "age inappropriate" by the keepers of the moral compass. The Left has always considered "Huckleberry Finn" inappropriate for its depiction of racism and its use ot the term "nigger." What the ignorami of the Right and the Left miss entirely is that both books depict realistic situations and attitudes in the context of their times. In fact, in "Huckleberry Finn," when Huck and Jim float down the Mississippi on a raft together, Huck begins to appreciate Jim's humanity, and it is clear that that is the underlying theme of Twain's book.

In today's climate, of course, there are all kinds of books that the ignorami wish to censor in schools and libraries, from Topeka, Kansas to Portland, Oregon. At one time I foolishly thought such ignorance was diminishing in the US. Recent events, from the 2016 election to students of the Right and the Left shouting each other down in a bid to suppress free speech on university campuses demonstrate that ignorance has only gotten worse. I think I will celebrate Banned Books Week by re-reading my copies of "The Catcher in the Rye" and "Huckleberry Finn," not to mention "The Story of O," by French author Pauline Reage.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 23 2017 18:12:50
 
FredGuitarraOle

Posts: 833
Joined: Dec. 7 2012
From: Lisboa, Portugal

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

At one time I foolishly thought such ignorance was diminishing in the US. Recent events, from the 2016 election to students of the Right and the Left shouting each other down in a bid to suppress free speech on university campuses demonstrate that ignorance has only gotten worse.

Even in Portugal, where for 43 years the nonsense of banning any book has been surpassed, such ignorance also seems to be on the rise. Very recently a children's book was banned from bookstores in the most idiotic circumstances.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 23 2017 22:42:26
 
Richard Jernigan

Posts: 2520
Joined: Jan. 20 2004
From: Austin, Texas USA

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

During my first year away from home at university I was eager to get my hands on a smuggled copy of Henry Miller's "Tropic of Capricorn." It was notorious for being banned from the USA due to explicit sex passages.

Upon reading, I found it rather boring. I much preferred Miller's later "Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch." I don't remember any particularly salacious passages in it.

By banning "Tropic of Capricorn" and others, I suspect the U.S. Postal Service may have actually increased sales of Miller's works published in France.

RNJ
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 0:36:12
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

I'm against banning books, but I wish some books would be promoted as 'please ignore' - Hitler, Ayn Rand and Richard Bach all make the cut.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 0:43:40
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2773
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Richard Jernigan

quote:

During my first year away from home at university I was eager to get my hands on a smuggled copy of Henry Miller's "Tropic of Capricorn." It was notorious for being banned from the USA due to explicit sex passages. Upon reading, I found it rather boring. I much preferred Miller's later "Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch." I don't remember any particularly salacious passages in it. By banning "Tropic of Capricorn" and others, I suspect the U.S. Postal Service may have actually increased sales of Miller's works published in France.


I was a fan of Anais Nin and Henry Miller who were literary companions and lovers. When I was young I devoured Henry Miller. At the time, he seemed to me to be the epitome of the avant garde writer and thinker. And at the time i think he was. Two things stand out in my mind about Henry Miller. The first is his book "The Colossus of Maroussi," in which he spent much of 1939 traveling and living in Greece at the invitation of his friend Lawrence Durrell, who lived in Corfu. The "Colossus" in the title refers to their mutual friend and traveling companion George Katsimbalis, a Greek who reminded me of Zorba the Greek.

The second thing that stands out is when I read "Tropic of Cancer." I recall a very funny incident when Miller moves to Paris. He meets a whore and stays with her in her Paris apartment. Miller is new to Europe and Paris, and he goes to the toilet in the whore's apartment. He has to defecate, and unknowingly defecates in her bidet. Of course, Miller, not knowing what a bidet is, thinks it's a toilet. The whore returns to her apartment, sees what miller has done, and immediately kicks him out of her apartment. A very funny episode, as Miller describes it. Needless to say, I did not submit a book report on "Tropic of Cancer" to my high school sophemore English teacher.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 2:37:20

Piwin

Posts: 2119
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

Banned Books Week celebrates the right to read without the ignorami of the Right and Left censoring books in schools and public libraries.


A quick look at the ALA's top ten list of "challenged books" per year suggests that there's no need to be this oecumenical when describing who is the main driving force behind the attempts at censoring books in the US today. It starts with an R and ends with an eligious right (#notall). Which is hilarious when you think about it. I'm fine with my kids reading stories of incest, genocide, torture and murder in the Bible, but God forbid they read a book that has a nipple anywhere in it.
So far, the crazies on the left seem to think that guest speakers are a better target for censorship than books. Someone should invite them to read some Jules Vernes. Maybe when they get to that passage in "The mysterious Island" where the protagonists debate whether the wild orangutan they had tamed is more useful than their African slave and quite literaly draw up a list of pros and cons for each of them, maybe that will get the ball rolling.

quote:

and its use ot the term "nigger."

As a student, I read Pierre Vallière's book "White niggers of America", an essential book for anyone who wants to understand Québecois separatism and the role of language in it (and which of course has absolutely nothing to do with race and the whole US-centric "debate" on that). I wonder if I'd feel safe carrying that book around on an American campus these days.


All of this being said, the one book that stands out in my mind as the contemporary symbol for resistance to censorship has to be Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses". When it comes to censorship, the sheer violence and inhumanity that came out as a reaction to that book far surpass anything else I've ever witnessed. And along with it, it raised the insidious question of self-censorship.

_____________________________

"When I'm dead, I'm going to forget everything – and I advise you to do the same."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 8:17:27
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

Funny I was on a Jules Verne jag a few summers ago. I reread him every ten years or so. Mysterious island is a terrible book, but interesting that the foundation of MI turns up in Arthur C. Clarke's 'Rendezvous with Rama'.

As far as the left censoring speakers, I have no problem with that in general. The likes of Ann Coulter and speakers of her ilk are non-substantive and only out to get a rise out of center left folks. They brunt of speakers that try to gain access to left leaning venues for discussion usually abuse the trust of the public in terms of presenting viable and altruistic content. So I say block them if it suits you. Even punch them when you feel like it. Because when it comes to nazis, sometimes violence is the answer.

I think Nazis should be called Nazis, not cute euphemisms like 'Alt Right'. And I'm not for censorship of Hitler's books, the world has a right to see what an vapid writer the was.

The worst, I will agree are the American Evangelicals, far worse than the 'left'. The 'Left' can be called by empirical reason, the Christian Right can't. My evangleical grandmother once ore through my bookshelf when I was a senior in high school. She left the books in disarray, then took a CS Lewis book called 'The Screwtape Letters' and mutilated the pages and wrote, SATANIC, in several pages and ripped several more out. Then she buried it in my underwear/sock drawer for me to find.

I tell people that evangelicals want a Christian Theocracy in place in the US and they laugh at me. Well you just give them the power and prepare to live with that. It's laughable until they try a constitutional convention, and they want one very badly. Which Is why say, read everything and punch a Nazi if you feel like it. I was not sympathetic when Richard Spencer was side clocked on national TV.

Henry Miller, jeeze, like there's not enough poorly written garbage out there. Big Sur and the Oranges of Heronymous Bosch is such a clean book. You know I worked with Millers son in a bar in Big Sur in the 1980's, his name is Tony. And Tony may never have been born in the US if not for that whore kicking Henry out of her flat.

Jean Paul Bidet, sounds like a good name for a French philosopher.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 12:06:42

Piwin

Posts: 2119
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

So...wait...she wrote satanic all over a Christian apologetics novel?
I hope she burned your copy of Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"... those books will send you straight to hell.

Best you read something more wholesome, like Sinclair Lewis's "Elmer Gantry".

_____________________________

"When I'm dead, I'm going to forget everything – and I advise you to do the same."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 12:48:18
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2773
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

All of this being said, the one book that stands out in my mind as the contemporary symbol for resistance to censorship has to be Salman Rushdie's "The Satanic Verses". When it comes to censorship, the sheer violence and inhumanity that came out as a reaction to that book far surpass anything else I've ever witnessed. And along with it, it raised the insidious question of self-censorship.


The "Satanic Verses" episode revealed the intolerance inherent in much of Islam, as most Muslims around the world agreed with Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa directing Muslims to kill Rushdie. During that period I had the unsettling experience of asking an Indonesian friend, whom I considered a moderate Muslim, what he thought of Khomeini's fatwa. He waited to respond, looked uncomfortable, and finally replied, "I wish you had not asked me that question."

My friend's response indicated to me that he either agreed with the fatwa to kill Rushdie but did not want to reveal his thoughts to a Westerner, or he disagreed with it but could not bring himself to publicly contradict an Islamic fatwa. Either way, I was somewhat saddened to see how Islam had imprisoned his mind.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 13:13:54
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2773
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

As far as the left censoring speakers, I have no problem with that in general. The likes of Ann Coulter and speakers of her ilk are non-substantive and only out to get a rise out of center left folks.


The spirit of the First Amendment and the right to free speech is not contingent; it does not depend on whether or not this group or that group agrees with the speaker. Offensive speech is best countered with more speech challenging it. Ann Coulter is one of the more extreme examples on the Right, but there are other speakers of a Conservative stripe who simply express a viewpoint at odds with those on the Left on university campuses, and they are shouted down and sometimes hounded off the podium as well.

As far as "getting a rise out of center left folks," two points need to be made. First, many are not "center left," a good number are far Left so-called "antifas" (anti-fascists) and self-styled "anarchists." Second, when they rise to the bait they are simply demonstrating their own brand of intolerance. It is precisely offensive speech that needs the protection and spirit of the First Amendment. If speech did not offend anyone, there would be no need for the spirit and letter of the First Amendment. And of all places, it is the university campus where free speech advocating and challenging all viewpoints, even those that are offensive and unpopular, should be sacrosanct.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 13:27:26
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

So...wait...she wrote satanic all over a Christian apologetics novel?
I hope she burned your copy of Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress"... those books will send you straight to hell.

Best you read something more wholesome, like Sinclair Lewis's "Elmer Gantry".


What really came to mind is that my grandmother was a mentally ill person who used religion to justify or delude herself from rational social interaction. I personally see Islam and Christianity in particular as vehicles to delusion. The basic premise or the spiritual stone upon which both religions are founded has been deeply corrupted by doctrinal hijacking that enables each religion to be used as a refuge for justifying mentally ill behavior. In my opinion a lot of the evangelical hardliner pastors who are narrow minded suffer from various degrees of mental illness.

On the topic of actually banning books, given the authority I think the right would be more inclined to out right ban certain books, while the left would not outright ban, but ridicule those who promoted books they disagreed with, kind of like me being snarky about Ayn Rand. Sometimes bad writing is just bad writing.

I had a girlfriend in college who gave me a copy of The Fountainhead. About halfway through I put it down that thought what an unmitigated piece of shiet this book is. We continued to date. She was an art history major and we took a trip to DC for the summer, she had an internship and I was doing research. We went to the National Gallery and looked at pictures. She would stand in front them and pick my brains about the quality in terms of the that artists body of work. Is this a good Titian? Finally we came to a Vermeer and she turned to me and said, "How much do you think this one s worth?"

I think that was the last time we spoke. She began dating baseball player in Baltimore yeahI took some leads on dating girls my aunt and uncle knew in DC......oh yeah. Back at school in the Fall we did not really feel that much, She was a Randian, and I was simply Randy. I met a Vietnamese American woman in a class and she pestered me until I came to her dorm room and acted coy. She had shelves full of interesting books, and poetry....by God she wrote good poetry. We dated for several years. And traded books.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 13:34:32
 
Ruphus

Posts: 3691
Joined: Nov. 18 2010
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

Funny to see this timely thread today, which was obviously posted yesterday. For, yesterday there was closed down a thread in a noted German neswpaper´s forum right after my trial to upload a comment, and I was banned from the forum.

The thread was related to an article which (obviously only rhetorically) asked the readers how the right-wing party AfD should be dealt with, which likely is to be joining federal parliament after today´s election.

My trespass? I wrote that the correct way was NOT to shout down AfD representatives in TV-talk shows and cut them short. Especially not by oh so blameless and trendy promoters of established conditions, and delegates of privileged minority.

Saying that a way against right wingers instead was to acknowledge corrupt conditions and to tackle these in consequence. Including official gaps like a statistics manipulating governmental office for statistics, black boxes like the item of subsidies in national household (which curiously is unnumbered / hence option of draining at will), extreme lobbyism etc. pp. Further realities like hyperxenesis (if that´s the correct term in English) causally triggered by inhumane industrial strategies abroad and secondarily by deliberate immigration policies instead of aid and support in refugee´s homelands. (Arranging for future cheap labour to keep expansion for industrial leaders going, where actually a consolidation and demographic / ecological recovery would be in place.)

Anyway, the current politically pseudo correct slogan is a sticking to allegedly cozy and innocent whereabouts, ignoring culminating plutocracy, escalating social discrepancy and corruption, shortsightedness and environmental irresponsibility.

Covering ever more severe misshapes which in turn only lurk the share of desperate people towards extremist right-wing parties. -And that is not even as unwanted in Germany as claimed. It´s never been to the degree pretented. Something evident last time just recently, when backup of state security offices and another shredding of files remained uninvestigated in the lawsuit against murdering by fascist NSU.

Just last night on German TV-channel "DW" there was a reportage about ample chicane and suppression against faithful whistleblowers, including policemen who had been instructed to not pursue / to ignore right-wing radical´s crimes.

There is a return to phoney harnessing and dictation going on which is pretending to be shielding humane statutes, in reality however spreading a veil of fatuity and mute over society. We are increasingly being told what to read and what to think, while the civil code is being hairdressed. Such tends to come along with a bigot cape of moralism as you might recall in view of the McCarthy era.

Yes, mentality retardation; thought to be relict and on the lines other end of tendency. There´s a U-turn.

Reactionary signals and signs towards dictate, wars and civil wars. And with the economical extremism of the past 3+ decades, unfortunately consequential.

If for human rights and reason, you can´t advocate an exploitative system of capitalism for a social species and community in the same time. Capitalism and fascism as a matter of principle are of the same self-centered reckless mentality.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 14:06:42

Piwin

Posts: 2119
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

and the right to free speech is not contingent


Though not nearly as well placed to talk about this than you are, I've always felt that this was blown way out of proportion in the US. Listening to people on the street talk about free speech in the US, you would think that it is diametrically opposed to how free speech is practiced in Europe and that the US admits no limitation to free speech whatsoever. And yet, a glance at the laws in the matter shows roughly the same exceptions to free speech as most countries in Europe have.

There are important differences, but the foundations are very much the same. Libel and defamation are punishable by law on both sides of the pond, which is already enough to dispell this notion of unlimited free speech. Similar forms of verbal harassment can also be punished by law (for example, just this year, Massachussetts has ruled that repeatedly inciting someone to commit suicide was not covered by the 1st amendment). And there is a similar kernel with regards to hate speech. The main difference on this one seems to be the notion of "imminence", which seems to be much more important in the US than in most national législations in Europe. The US focuses on incitement to "imminent lawless action" whereas in many European countries the incitement to violence doesn't have to necessarily be on the short-term. Arguably, I think the likes of Milo Yiannablablawhateverhisnameis and his trolling appearances at Berkley could very well fall under this exception to free speech as it is no secret that he intends to provoque lawless action. The difficulty is where one should draw the line, since there are other speakers who are there genuinely to express an opposing point of view and nonetheless violence ensues. But that's my point: it's all about where you draw the line, and even in the US, legislators agree that there is a line to be drawn. I know people like to scoff nowadays at those sayings on the balance of rights and obligations, but I still like them, the ones like "my right to punch ends where your nose begins". They make sense to me. It's just that pinching your nose isn't the same thing as punching it. And also some people's noses are so big that no matter how you move they're gonna get punched.

@estebanana
I think when it comes down to it, censorship is applied by those whose beliefs are threatened by outside information. That might sound trite, but when I say threatened, I don't mean "this makes me uncomfortable" or "I don't like that", I mean "this information could destroy my belief system". And as such it makes sense that censorship would be more prevalent in the religious right than in the secular right or on the left, either secular or religious. In the type of religious household I grew up in, atheistic authors were frowned upon. It was thought that the devil was at work and that if you read those books, he could lure you away from your faith. And in a way they're not wrong. The most hardcore versions of religion rely heavily on ignorance. It's hard to keep on believing the world is 6000 years old if you've read outside information on geology, astronomy, biology, etc. It's hard to believe Noah's ark was a historical event when you read just a simple book on evolution, or even on boat architecture for that matter.

Of course this also applies to authoritarian regimes. When you end up banning "Green Eggs and Ham", clearly your political system feels threatened by outside information (though kudos to the Chinese for realizing that Dr. Seuss wasn't just fun and games).

_____________________________

"When I'm dead, I'm going to forget everything – and I advise you to do the same."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 15:05:44
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2773
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

Attempts to ban books in libraries and schools and to ban or shout down speakers on university campuses with whom one disagrees demonstrate intellectual impotence. Whether it is the Topeka, Kansas School Board, the UC Berkeley campus, Middlebury College, White Supremecists, or Black Lives Matter, the attempts to ban books and stifle free speech represent an inability to come to terms with and engage ideas and viewpoints with which one disagrees. Instead we witness the spectacle of little snowflakes prattling on about "micro-aggressions," "trigger warnings" (beware Huckleberry Finn!), and "safe spaces." In the United States, the center has been hollowed out.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 15:24:25
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2773
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

Libel and defamation are punishable by law on both sides of the pond, which is already enough to dispell this notion of unlimited free speech. Similar forms of verbal harassment can also be punished by law (for example, just this year, Massachussetts has ruled that repeatedly inciting someone to commit suicide was not covered by the 1st amendment)....The US focuses on incitement to "imminent lawless action"


To get the full meaning of my statement about free speech not being "contingent," you need to quote both clauses: "The spirit of the First Amendment and the right to free speech is not contingent; it does not depend on whether or not this group or that group agrees with the speaker." The second clause is key.

Otherwise, you are quite right, and your examples are to the point. But no one I know has ever claimed that there is a right to unlimited free speech in the United States. We all recognize the laws governing libel and defamation (they have to be proven, of course). And the old prohibition about yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre has always been recognized by law, as has the prohibition against attempts to provoke the "incitement of imminent lawless action."

But we are not talking about the examples in your quote cited above. We are talking about speech that is considered unpopular, and even offensive, by various groups who think it is their obligation to suppress such speech and deny others the right to hear it and engage with the arguments and viewpoints being expressed.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 15:41:19

Piwin

Posts: 2119
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

you need to quote both clauses


Ah my apologies. I somehow managed to skip over that second part...and as a result wrote a comment that was completely off topic.
Sorry about that!

_____________________________

"When I'm dead, I'm going to forget everything – and I advise you to do the same."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 15:59:35
 
timoteo

 

Posts: 216
Joined: Jun. 22 2012
From: Seattle, USA

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Piwin

quote:

Though not nearly as well placed to talk about this than you are, I've always felt that this was blown way out of proportion in the US. Listening to people on the street talk about free speech in the US, you would think that it is diametrically opposed to how free speech is practiced in Europe and that the US admits no limitation to free speech whatsoever. And yet, a glance at the laws in the matter shows roughly the same exceptions to free speech as most countries in Europe have.


To be fair, remember that the first amendment was written in the 18th century. Speech in Europe at that time was significantly more restricted, specifically with regards to lèse-majesté laws (which are still present in parts of Europe even today). The concept encapsulated by the first amendment, that you could disagree with the ruler of your country without being a traitor, was an important and significant aspect of our constitution which set it apart from other governments around the world at that time. It is to Europe's credit that they are now much closer to our definition of free speech. And yet there are still those in America that consider dissent unpatriotic and who will condemn e.g. the person who leaked the fact that America was torturing prisoners in Iraq, rather than condemning the torture itself. Sad!
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 18:25:14
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

....oh yeah. Back at school in the Fall we did not really feel that much, She was a Randian, and I was simply Randy.


Wow Stephen Faulk you sure are a funny guy. Sometimes I read your jokes and they are hilarious - "Randian vs. Randy" HAHAH LOLOL How do you come up with this stuff? How come you're not a comedian?

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 20:06:42
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

The spirit of the First Amendment and the right to free speech is not contingent; it does not depend on whether or not this group or that group agrees with the speaker. Offensive speech is best countered with more speech challenging it. Ann Coulter is one of the more extreme examples on the Right, but there are other speakers of a Conservative stripe who simply express a viewpoint at odds with those on the Left on university campuses, and they are shouted down and sometimes hounded off the podium as well.



I get what you're saying, and in my opinion Ann Coulter is passe', not even extreme, she's just good at getting paid to be annoying. The thing I object to in real situations is that if you take a campus like Berkeley, University of California Berkeley, that agent provacateurs target either liberal, or far right institutions, with a kind of prejudice and malicious intent that it needs to be called out or downright resisted.

Now if someone has a story to tell or a subject to expound upon that is uncomfortable for some citizens to hear, but a subject that may benefit a certain group and the intention is altruistic, or neutral or even slightly aggressive at advocating an unpopular view, so be it. They should have a say. The problem with the Milos'es and the Richard Spencer's and to an extent Coulter, (although she's been put in her place by umpteen intellectuals no less cutting than Christopher Hitchens who eviscerated her twenty years ago so badly she's been ever since a walking wounded corpse trailing half dead guts and intestine under her own cloven hooves- but that does not count because her readers are too daft to know not Hitchens from a doorknob.) is that the Milos' are only out to insult and provoke in an environment where they really don't belong. If someone wants to have a Nazi rally, it's protected speech, to an extent legally, sure, but that does not mean I have to have them in my town. Nor does it mean I have to welcome them or be accommodating within legal bounds. Letting someone know they are not welcome in your town is also legal.

The city of Castro Valley is about 18 miles from Berkeley, and apologies to anyone who lives there if you see this, but directly post WWII African American families who wanted to buy property in Castro Valley and enter into a middle class contract to buy a home in this developing area were discouraged to do so by not too subtle means. The message was clear, 'this is a white enclave and you better be ready for rough treatment if you cross the Oakland - Castro Valley border line'.

Historically there is a precedent set by white people in the East Bay area of San Francisco Bay where black people and poorer whites, and ethnic minorities were discouraged from ascending into certain areas, even though they may have been fully employed as middle class citizens of substance. Historically the UC Berkeley campus has been a strong hold of creating a support system to develop resistance against social injustices, a major case in point is the development of laws for disabled people to access public places. Berkeley is where that developed. In the case of Berkeley, like it or not the reason right wing groups target that area is because it is known as a place where the line is held held against the far right getting away with promoting unjust social policy. So it was never really a center based political area.

When current right wing groups go to Berkeley, it's not about winning the hearts and minds of downtrodden locals under the cruel boot of leftists who won't leave them alone, right wing agitators go there because it's good showmanship and they know a small contingent of rock throwers will show up. They are there to get hit with rocks, 95%or less of the crowd is not throwing rocks, but saying OK you can come here, but we're going to jeer you. Which seems fair given......

The equivalent of a person who is looking for rakes and potholes to trip on so they can sue the city; That is the intent of right wing extremists attempting to preach in left enclaves, it never ends well and it's the same low class tactic of a person seeking to entrap others in accidents which lead to falsely litigious actions. It's a subtle form of acting as a victim. Given what a difficult world it is and that there are real victims of natural disasters and political violence outside the US, I view right wing provocation and white victim hood as highly self indulgent. So how do you deal with self indulgent Nazi's who want to come to your street? Maybe throwing a well paced rock or two is ok, it works in the Bible. David wins. Why not? If they want to claim the Old testament they should be ready to live it instead of being snowflakes seeking TV camera time in Berkeley. Or better yet, they can stay home an be Nazis where THEY live.

If someone wants to read Mien Kampf, awesome for them, but if you preach it on my street you might get hurt. That strategy worked for the KKK for 150 years. See just because the left is 'supposed' to turn the other cheek and face death threats with peaceful protest does not mean it will always happen, it should- What if Steve Bannon or Richard Spencer had to endure what Salman Rushdie endured? I'm sure they would cave, would they keep going if their lives were destroyed? Well guess what, no body is issuing a fatwa against their Nazi arses, so boo hoo for them. Poor misunderstood white nationalists, so oppressed, so abused, so incredibly stupid.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 21:00:35
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1516
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

I think I will celebrate Banned Books Week by re-reading my copies of "The Catcher in the Rye" and "Huckleberry Finn," […]


Does your edition have Twain’s original language? If so, what is it?

I’ve avoided reading it up to this point because no one seems able to tell me whether or not the language of the edition I‘m looking at has been bowdlerised.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 21:17:43
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1516
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

quote:

Recent events, from the 2016 election to students of the Right and the Left shouting each other down in a bid to suppress free speech on university campuses demonstrate that ignorance has only gotten worse.


It’s often struck me that many students who are referred to by the media as left wing would be better described as Stalinists. It’s nothing new: remember the death-threats to Arthur Jensen, and the promises of arson for any bookshop that stocked Hans Eysenck’s The IQ Argument?
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 21:25:52
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1516
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

I'm not for censorship of Hitler's books, the world has a right to see what an vapid writer the was.


I don’t think vapid is the right word: like Marx, he has moments of extreme perceptiveness mixed in with the hysteria. A case in point is his remarks about the superior effectiveness of British propaganda methods in WWI, which, in fact, seem to me to have been used as a textbook by several US (and British) administrations. For example:

quote:

It belongs to the genius of a great leader to make even adversaries far removed from one another seem to belong to a single category, because in weak and uncertain characters the knowledge of having different enemies can only too readily lead to the beginning of doubt in their own right.

Once the wavering mass sees itself in a struggle against too many enemies, objectivity will put in an appearance, throwing open the question whether all others are really wrong and only their own people or their own movement are in the right.

And this brings about the first paralysis of their own power. Hence a multiplicity of different adversaries must always be combined so that in the eyes of the masses of one’s own supporters the struggle is directed against only one enemy.


quote:

It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction for instance.

The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous. In consequence of these facts, all effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out.


quote:

All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be. But if, as in propaganda for sticking out a war, the aim is to influence a whole people, we must avoid excessive intellectual demands on our public, and too much caution cannot be exerted in this direction.

The more modest its intellectual ballast, the more exclusively it takes into consideration the emotions of the masses, the more effective it will be. And this is the best proof of the soundness or unsoundness of a propaganda campaign, and not success in pleasing a few scholars and young æsthetes.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 21:37:50
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to BarkellWH

Any edition predating the year 2010 is probably unexpurgated, especially if it's 30 years old. Not hard to find. CINR is easy to find original text.

http://contentserver.adobe.com/store/books/HuckFinn.pdf

There are some pretty good reasons why Huck Finn was ironed out to be taught in public school. It's possible that original text and an altered text can coexist.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 21:38:32
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2773
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

Does your edition have Twain’s original language? If so, what is it?


Yes, but it is about 60 years old. I think you can find "Huckleberry Finn" today with the original language.

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 22:47:43
 
BarkellWH

Posts: 2773
Joined: Jul. 12 2009
From: Washington, DC

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

quote: Recent events, from the 2016 election to students of the Right and the Left shouting each other down in a bid to suppress free speech on university campuses demonstrate that ignorance has only gotten worse.

It’s often struck me that many students who are referred to by the media as left wing would be better described as Stalinists. It’s nothing new: remember the death-threats to Arthur Jensen, and the promises of arson for any bookshop that stocked Hans Eysenck’s The IQ Argument?


Ignorance of the correct use of English coupled with hyper-sensitivity can have real world consequences that go beyond syntax and misunderstanding the meaning of a word. A good example occurred in the mayor's office in Washington, DC about 12 years ago and received wide coverage in the Washington Post. A white male employee, commenting on the city budget, noted that one line item received so little funding that it, as he put it, "was a niggardly amount." A black colleague overheard him and lodged a complaint, stating that the comment was "racist." When told that "niggardly" was not racist and meant "stingy" or "miserly," the black colleague still complained. the white employee was eventually transferred to another department. So instead of the employee ignorant about English language usage being reprimanded or transferred, the employee using the term correctly was.

Unsurprisingly, there have been dust-ups at several universities over the term "niggardly." Several years ago at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a leader of the Black Student Union complained to the faculty senate that a professor teaching Chaucer had used the word "niggardly," and that the professor continued using the word after she (the student) told her she was "offended." When told that the term had no relationship to racist language, the "offended" student replied, "It's not up to the rest of the class to decide whether my feelings are valid." These are supposed to be educated people, and yet their ignorance of the English language appears to be setting the agenda these days.

Bill

_____________________________

And the end of the fight is a tombstone white,
With the name of the late deceased,
And the epitaph drear, "A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East."

--Rudyard Kipling
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 22:59:07
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1516
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

quote:

The concept encapsulated by the first amendment, that you could disagree with the ruler of your country without being a traitor, was an important and significant aspect of our constitution


“I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor.”

George III

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 23:01:53

Piwin

Posts: 2119
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to timoteo

@timoteo I hear you. But I still don't think the American concept is radically different than anything in Europe. They share the same roots: the philosophy of the great thinkers of the Enlightenment. Some of us just got there before the others. It's like looking at the timeline of the abolition of slavery in the Western world. Some countries got their first, but if we take a wider view it really seems that it was just one single big wave that went through all of these countries.

@estebanana Next to that you have cases like Evergreen that involve no outside speakers, no one from the right, and yet there does seem to have been a witch hunt and it seems all to clear where the responsibility lies. The few articles that were published in defense of the protesters, particularly that one in the New York Times, were weak to say the least. I read just last week that they had seen a substantial drop in enrollments (that they estimated at around 2 million dollars in loss of revenue) this year, which doesn't seem much of a stretch to attribute to the fuss around last spring's events. Hell, I know if I wanted to get an education, I wouldn't waste my money on a place where academics can get entirely disrupted with the first "social movement" that comes strolling by. I suspect as these cautionary tales multiply, other universities will start toughening up and stop letting racist mobs rule their campus.

_____________________________

"When I'm dead, I'm going to forget everything – and I advise you to do the same."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 23:41:23
 
Paul Magnussen

Posts: 1516
Joined: Nov. 8 2010
From: London (living in the Bay Area)

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

quote:

http://contentserver.adobe.com/store/books/HuckFinn.pdf


Thanks Stephen: I’ve now got both Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn in PDF.
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 24 2017 23:51:29
 
estebanana

 

Posts: 7497
Joined: Oct. 16 2009
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to Paul Magnussen

quote:

Thanks Stephen: I’ve now got both Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn in PDF.


It saves a trip out to Green Apple Books, but I like both PDF and real books. Many unpublishable works can be found on PDF, like history and research papers.


quote:

Next to that you have cases like Evergreen that involve no outside speakers, no one from the right, and yet there does seem to have been a witch hunt and it seems all to clear where the responsibility lies. The few articles that were published in defense of the protesters, particularly that one in the New York Times, were weak to say the least. I read just last week that they had seen a substantial drop in enrollments (that they estimated at around 2 million dollars in loss of revenue) this year, which doesn't seem much of a stretch to attribute to the fuss around last spring's events. Hell, I know if I wanted to get an education, I wouldn't waste my money on a place where academics can get entirely disrupted with the first "social movement" that comes strolling by. I suspect as these cautionary tales multiply, other universities will start toughening up and stop letting racist mobs rule their campus.


The issue at Evergreen was exacerbated by the professor 'who did protest too much'- Evergreen is somewhat of an experimental college and the prof who challenged the proposal that white students leave for one day completely missed the point in terms of social lesson as intended to encourage an on campus structured discussion. Then he doubled down and took it onto national media, if I had been the Dean of Students and Faculty I would have fired his lame ass on the spot. He did some bad teaching and broke the trust of the credo of the school. Ethically very shabby.


Then an incursion of 80 white nationalist activists came to campus to protest an issue that was none of their business and they were met by outside anarchist groups, and some students, who if I had been dean would have been expelled on the spot.

This kind of stuff is not about civic debate and exchange, this kind of malarkey is nothing but gang warfare. So if a rival gang of white nationalists marches onto the campus of a known liberal college to stick their necks where they don't belong, sure it's legal, but it's a kind of gangish, thugish intervention that exacerbates the problem.

At Evergreen it was a proposal to conduct a social learning experience, not a racist movement, and one white professor felt threatened and pushed back in way that was inappropriate, then called foul on the 'the other side'. Protesting white nationalism in public spaces is not so dubious an act, in the context of US history and civil rights. Legally sure white nationalists have a right to assembly and speech, that does not make it correct. The white nationalist movement wants to cherry pick The Enlightenment philosophers and Kant to glean out the parts they can twist into service. They utterly disregard many great thinkers of Europe, you won't find them quoting Mary Wollstonecraft....

What I find particularly stupid about the white professors argument that exploring race relationships is not about separating by phenotype, ( he is a biology teacher) is his strange defense of his reticence to talk frankly about the proposal. His position against the proposal is both dominant and defensive; white nationalism at the most base essence, is predicated on breeding according to selection by phenotypes. It stands to reason an exploration of phenotype separation, and it was so much more than that, in the college was not an offensive proposal that would elicit such a forceful absolute denial, from a scientist. I find his reasoning to be very shifty, unscientific, philosophically weak, and, well to use the buzz word of the day that gives conservatives a spazmodic episode of 'diverticulitis of the noggin', laden with privilege.

Ok Good talk! I'm glad you see it my way.

_____________________________

  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 3:44:03

Piwin

Posts: 2119
Joined: Feb. 9 2016
 

RE: Banned Books Week: September 24... (in reply to estebanana

I have no insight into what or how he taught. I haven't heard of any problem between him and the way Evergreen operates other than this specific incident. I did however read his letter about the so-called Day of Absence and a piece of his on his views on equality. There was nothing provocative about it and nothing that seemed to indicate he had any problems with movements that promote racial equality (quite the opposite actually). Other than just flat-out disagreeing with his ideas, there was no reason for this witch hunt. If you don't see the difference between an "experiment" in which a subset of people willingly remove themselves from a location and one in which a subset of people forcibly remove others (and these were students and faculty that had as much right to be on that campus as anybody else who worked or studied there), then we have some fundamental political differences. And that was what he protested, and IMO quite rightly. Though white students and faculty were meant to leave on a voluntary basis, there is plenty of footage that shows that what was meant by "voluntary" was "with a heavy dose of threats and physical violence if you do not comply". Not to mention the complaints that have been voiced by people of other minorities who were also meant to follow without question whatever the "Black agenda" dictated.

And for this last one, coming from a country where those on top of the minority ladder have shown far more racism towards those beneath them on that ladder than even the majority group has, I would hate to see this replicated in the US, There have been a few events that were publicized as "no whites allowed". That quickly died out as only people from one single ethnic group attended, which created a big red neon sign pointing straight at the racist nature of these events. And I suspect this will happen in the US too. They will start pointing to Asian Americans as "enablers", they will trample the rights of minorities that are less dark skin than they are...and then...well at some point they're gonna have to ask the right questions.

_____________________________

"When I'm dead, I'm going to forget everything – and I advise you to do the same."
  REPORT THIS POST AS INAPPROPRIATE |  Date Sep. 25 2017 5:43:24
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