I’m against censorship. Unfortunately many are in favour of censoring books. You may have heard of the outcry over the decision to edit Mark Twain’s classic, Huckleberry Finn, to stop calling the main supporting character, Nigger Jim. What you may not have heard is that schools had stopped teaching Huckleberry Finn because they didn’t want to have to explain the historical and racial undertones and themes of the book. We can’t have a literary book actually studied now, can we! Definitely don’t want to look at Twain’s biting commentary on racism in the south of America, because that would mean discussing racism, and we like to pretend it isn’t still an issue.
It isn’t just the school curricula that are being impacted, it is libraries and book stores as well. The list of frequently challenged books is far too long and the reasons cited are far too ridiculous. For example, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is regularly objected to for being: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit. Seriously? What about the other complaints?
I’m offended by the word ‘sustainable’ as it is ambiguous term that is used politically as a catch-cry to gloss over reality. Does that mean I can complain about books containing that word? And what is sexually explicit? Is it when two characters embrace for a passionate kiss, or when the ball-gag and whips make an appearance? Are parents really concerned about the level of “smut” in the books their kids read or are they trying to have books banned because readers might enjoy them?
I know I have a complaint about the Twilight books. Now, my reasons aren’t like the other complaints (Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence), I just don’t like them because I’ve been dragged to see four terrible films by my wife. Ban the Twilight books so that husbands and boyfriends everywhere aren’t tortured with Kirsten Stewart’s “acting.”
Sometimes the best ideas for a scene come about at the oddest moments. By oddest moments, I mean when someone has really pissed you off. This post is to thank all of those people who make writers think of murder.
I am waging a war against poor grammar and spelling. Please tell me I’m not alone. Not in a metaphysical, mystical, praise be to his noodliness kind of ‘not alone’, but the ‘you too support that idea’ kind of way.
Whether it be the borderline illiterate retired football player who is now a TV personality, the weather girl whose qualifications in meteorology are limited to blowing hot air, or the poster on any internet site you frequent, we seem to be surrounded by lazy or solecistic. Now I’m aware that language evolves over time. If you have read Robinson Crusoe, published in 1719, you will have noticed how
boring labourous it is to read. Compare this to modern authors, not one would ever use such a long title: The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un‐inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver’d by Pirates. So the English language is bound to evolve, become more concise, more relevant to the people who use it.
But I think there is a difference between evolving and those who butcher the language. I don’t think it is ‘cool’ to use poor diction such as “I is” nor make the constant newsreader error of interchangeably using were and was. This is just lazy and shows that rather than communicate clearly, the culprit is more concerned about being heard.
Rebel I say. Fight the war. Death to the deliberately illiterate.
I look forward to having this post edited for hypocrisy.
Apologies for not having written anything much here in the past few weeks. I’m on holidays and finishing my draft of Overturned Stones. Also hope to make inroads into a rewrite and tidy up some chapters to start submissions.