Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Something Different

Hello, readers.

Last night, I received my M.F.A diploma from Ole Miss. It felt surprisingly meaningful for a piece of paper. More so, even, than my other, more engineering type master's degrees. This one had that extra sheen of finding what you love to do, not to mention finding people whom you simply, and forever, love.

Going to see The Walkmen at Mercy Lounge was not originally planned as a celebration concert, but that's what it became. A very loud, violently nostalgic, occasionally painful, but ultimately kick ass kind of celebration.

I've never seen a drummer take such pleasure in the simple joy of hitting something very hard. Nor have I seen a singer wail quite so prodigiously, as though he were attempting to expel his heart from his chest, or perhaps, maybe, just to be heard over the animal antics of a very happy drummer.

My ears are still ringing. They'll get over it.

And now for something completely different.

It's banned books week. This is something I wrote about that.


The ALA (American Library Association) celebrates banned books this week (September 26th to October 3rd). You might think that book burnings are a thing of the past, but alas, at least metaphorically, many old and new books, featuring certain kinds of language, sexuality, and religious viewpoints--among other dangers to the community--continue to be consigned to the flames of ignorance, fear, and all around dumbness.

The fantastic genres, despite their avowed escapist nature, haven't escaped being pinned down as indecent.

On their list of challenged classic books, the ALA lists 1984 as being challenged for it's "pro-communist" views. Slaughterhouse Five gets a mention for "bestiality, a reference to 'Magic Fingers..., and the sentence: 'The gun made a ripping sound like the opening of the fly of God Almighty.'" Vonnegut's book was actually burned in Drake, North Dakota in 1973.

More recently, occasional mobs accuse Harry Potter of being a witch promoting book--a fairly silly accusation since everyone knows what's really being promoted in those books is tragic orphanhood. Also, there's Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, which, for it's not so subtle anti-authoritarian/religious views, was the second most challenged book in 2008.

It would seem that books about the abuse of authority tend to invite such abuse. Way to be disappointing, world.

For more, check out Powell's list of science fiction and fantasy banned books. Guardian has a link to a poem you can read.

But mostly, if you have the time, the best way to celebrate banned books week, of course, is to curl up with something good and scandalous. Maybe something about burning books, like Fahrenheit 451, for example. Which, yes, occasionally people want to ban. As noted, world=disappointing.


ttfn, readers.

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