Before you begin this entry, you might want to see the comments from yesterday, and how one joke about Dawn of the Dead launched another debate about decency.
Decency! It sounds like something that should have been argued in the 1800’s. Decency. Those women are showing their ankles! Indecent!
If the FCC can fine for indecency, and advertise on television that the V-Chip helps parents be parents, and if the Patriot Act means that everything you do can be watched and recorded, how much longer do you seriously think we’ll be allowed to write whatever we want to write here on the Internet?
Is it really all about the children? Because kids sure can see the Internet for free, and some of you I know already have this site blocked at your jobs because I used a four-letter word or two, or have a pretty pink lady on the cover of the blog.
How much longer do you think we’ll have free speech on the Internet? I’m telling you, the way it’s going, you won’t even get the chance to renew your URL before you’ve got rules on what you can and can’t write here.
Doesn’t that scare you? Don’t you want to do something about the fact that every day people are fighting to take your rights away from you? They want to tell you who to marry, how to vote, what to do with your body, how far science can advance, what you can see, what you can hear, and who’s going to tell you what you can see and hear. Remember how much you hated high school, with its arbitrary rules to keep everyone in line, with dress codes and pep rallies and everything made to keep order and peace and homogeny?
Is that how you want your life? Do we really need someone to control everything, to keep everything the same?
It’s amazing that I’m writing here something so similar to the essay I wrote for my high school’s underground newspaper. This feels just like that time, when we were threatened that we wouldn’t be allowed to “walk,” meaning they couldn’t really do anything about how I was already graduating with honors and going to college, but they were mad that we had written something challenging the school’s authority, so they were going to make sure we didn’t get to walk down the aisle to accept our diplomas (the empty folders that were supposed to represent your diploma, as we hadn’t taken finals yet and technically hadn’t graduated yet).
And now once again I am worried that people are listening to their parents or their teachers or whomever it is in charge and not listening to the words underneath the words.
At what point do other people need to step in and take over? At what point are we, as adults, willing to throw up our hands and ask other people to tell us what to do? Do we miss being parented that much, that we honestly think we aren’t capable of making our own decisions? Do we need censors in order to feel clean? Pure? Honest? What is the end result?
I want you to be able to disagree with me. I want to be able to disagree with you. I want you to be able to watch porn while I watch The Vagina Monologues and I don’t want to have to worry about either one of them getting banned for indecency. Once you allow the FCC to determine what you can and can’t watch on television, or hear on the radio, it’s only a short matter of time before that infiltrates your books, your theatre, and what you do at home.
War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.
Amazing how close we’re getting to the party slogans from Orwell’s 1984, isn’t it?
I have the feeling that my writing on censorship hasn’t gotten any better since high school, mostly because I cannot write about this topic without getting incredibly anxious and passionate and I end up sounding like my fifteen-year old self. “What the hell is going on?” I’m like that sister at the end of Poltergeist, screaming at the imploding house as the rest of the family is already in the car with keys.
What is the solution? How can I make you feel safe to turn on your television without needing a guardian? How can I make you okay with the fact that I want to hear Howard Stern in the morning because he’s an intelligent, extremely funny human being who cares about his audience? How can I make you feel strong enough to make your own decisions and not feel the need to have other people make rules about what we can and can’t do? How can I make you “mind your own beeswax,” as my mom is fond of saying? When will everybody just mind their own damn beeswax and be confident in everyone’s ability to make intelligent decisions about what they do and don’t want to hear or see? Decency? Is this really something we need to be discussing at this point? Is this what it all boils down to? Because it truly seems like the least important problem in this country right now. It just happens to be one we can all have an educated opinion on. I guess because so many of us are unemployed right now we spend a lot of time watching television and listening to the radio. We never noticed if it was indecent before because we were too busy making money to care.
- Fugitives and Refugees: A Walk in Portland, Oregon, by Chuck Palahniuk
- You Shall Know Our Velocity, by Dave Eggers.
Well, the impossible happened. I finished a Dave Eggers sentence and understood it. And then I read the next one and like that, too. And then I read a book full of them, and I truly enjoyed it. Maybe I’ll give that first one a try again. But since everybody hated this book so much, I’m guessing this book isn’t like the others.