Thursday, February 28, 2008

They Walk Among Us

Oh dear...now I've done it.

We've recently had a dust-up with some local censors putting the screws to a middle school play about--of all ironies--bullies. The upshot, some parents whined, the school administrators caved, the play gets cancelled. Typical fascism.

Anyway, Bob Hicks, former lead theatre critic for The Oregonian, wrote a perfectly well reasoned piece on the subject:

arts-scatter

Which was fine, except I, in full-puffed gills, Keith Richards waving a ratchetknife, take-no-prisoners mode, took exception with Bob's statement that "censors have the best intentions."

Expect heavy rain.

Here's my response, along with the illustration I would have posted had art-scatter had that option:

I know you’re a gracious, polite guy, Bob. I can be too. But sometimes I’m not, and this is one of those times: censors do not have the best intentions.

What they have is a jones for power. They crush those who disagree the slightest with their orthodoxy because nothing must interfere with the fragile little snowglobes in which they make their fragile nests. Here’s what the pecksniffs, hypermoralists, and others bloated with a delusional sense of importance teach kids: pretend to be creative and we’ll praise you and make you feel all cuddly inside, and everything will be mondo groovy, and we’ll give you a brown felt unicorn and a cup of cocoa. Color outside the lines, and we’ll make you you wish you’d never been born, you snotty little clot of rancid waste.

Censors are agents of the thought police.

2 comments:

Bob said...

Hey Steve, terrific post. I found myself cheering you on, even as you were arguing with me. You came straighter to the point than I did. In general, a censor is a censor and let's not make excuses. My only rejoinder is this: When children are involved, I think some people really do think they're doing the right thing: the kids aren't ready for this, blah blah blah. Well, the kids are ready, and the censors are still wrong, and I think Richard Peck said it very well. But as stupid as the school censors' actions are, I'm not sure they rise to the level of malevolence of our governmental censors who are literally afraid of losing power if the public had free access to all the information deemed too "sensitive" for us to know about. -- bob hicks

splattworks said...

Thank you, Bob. I really didn't disagree with you--I think I'd just been upset reading about the case in the paper a couple days ago, and my feelings about censors in general came boiling up. For once, I'd love to see a school administrator stand up on their hind legs and say to the parents: "Uh...no. And get the hell out of my office."

Ah well. One can dream. You wrote a good piece on it. Thanks.